Questions to ask in a marriage

Group of items from a wedding

There's no denying marriage is a monumental life decision for both individuals involved. At its core, saying "I do" shows your high level of commitment to your partner.

But as with any big decision, your finances will have an impact on important life decisions. As uncomfortable as the conversation may be between a couple, money discussions must occur. Do not assume everything will sort itself out after the wedding and honeymoon.

The earlier you discuss finances with your partner, the better you'll be able to spot potential issues and deal with them before they lead to high levels of stress. Money issues are usually cited as the top issue in marriages.

Here's how you can discuss finances with your loved one to avoid letting problems build up and become worse over time.

What is the current level of debt?
Set aside time with your significant other to go over all existing forms of debt. From medical bills, student loans to credit cards and auto loans, do not forget to account for anything.

While the total will likely shock you, do not let it depress you. Use this time to discuss plans to eliminate existing various forms of debt. You may even find it beneficial to create monthly goals that will help the long-term goal.

Debt can be tricky because not all forms of it are unavoidable, and some will require more time and patience to pay off. Even so, knowing your current debt level in the present can help both of you make future plans without hurting your finances.

How will money be spent?
As a married couple, you have two options regarding checking accounts and daily spending. You and your partner can either have your own individual accounts and debit cards, or you can utilize a shared account of which you both have access.

Whichever option you choose, keep in mind that both of you will have different spending habits. With separate checking accounts, your money can be spent how you see fit. Joint accounts can come in handy as it can be used to pay the monthly bills.

Consider having both a joint and separate account. This way, the two of you can handle the bills equally but still have an individual account you can use for personal purchases.

Lifestyle options
Everyone has their own lifestyle habits. It's important to see how certain preferences and behaviors will affect finances. For instance, traveling every other month may not be a financially sound option anymore, especially if you're looking to start a family.

Don't surprise your partner with any unexpected purchases or decisions. Instead, both of you should create some goals you'd like to achieve, Bankrate explained [1]. If traveling is indeed one of them, you can then adjust appropriately, such as buying a smaller house.

Money is tough to talk about, and it becomes even more difficult when discussing it with your partner. However, you need to summon the courage to have this conversation if you're to have a successful and happy marriage.

[1]. Personal finance questions before marriage

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