When talking to marriage counsellors about the effects of finances in a marriage, what they have said is if finances are not the identified number one reason why people break up, it is in the top three. Finances are such an integral part of a relationship, it effects your future plans and your day to day. We see the stress it causes in our offices every day.
Arguments can start with, “well I didn’t know you/we owed that! We owe how much? Well I didn’t know we spent that! What happened to all our money?” All these statements can be hurtful in any relationship, and the root varies as to why they are made. Sometimes the person tasked with managing the money in the relationship is not good at it or needs help, sometimes there are things that are hidden because of embarrassment or because they know it will cause an argument.
Financial disagreements can and will happen throughout a relationship, but it does hold true that the more you know prior, the easier you can get through it.
The best words of advice you can receive about a relationship is to talk about money from the beginning. The conversation should grow with the relationship. As time goes on it won’t be so much a question and answer, but a natural discussion day to day. If you plan to marry, you need to be comfortable discussing student loans, consumer debt and how you will have a household budget. Not knowing the state of each other’s finances will impact your goals. Applying for your first mortgage together is not the time to find out that your partner is carrying a high amount of student loans or that they have a poor credit rating.
There are many discussions and financial decisions to be made upon marriage. Will you have a joint account? How many credit cards will be used in the household? How will you decide on large purchases? Talk to your friends and family, how do they navigate the financial discussion? What tips can they give you for you to get started?
In the end the conversation is essential to have before you marry so that you are prepared for what lays ahead when you are married.