According to a survey conducted by SunTrust Bank, only 51 percent of couples discussed financial management prior to getting married. In fact, according to the survey, nearly 60 percent of couples did not even discuss their own salaries before marriage and only 36 percent of couples had a detailed discussion of their own personal debt before marriage.
To address this issue, Bankrate has developed a Pre-Marriage Financial Guide that outlines five practical suggestions for couples to take before marriage to ensure that they build a successful financial plan for the future:
- First, the Pre-Marriage Financial Guide recommends that couples have an open and honest conversation about their personal debt. Before marriage, couples should sit down together and discuss all of their personal debts (credit cards, medical bills, student loans, vehicle loans, etc.). Ultimately, the couple’s goal should be to create a plan to pay off the debts. In addition, the couple may consider calculating their joint debt to income ratio so that they know how to appropriately plan together for their financial future.
- Second, the Guide recommends that couples discuss whether they want to combine their finances in joint accounts or keep their finances separate before marriage. A couple may also consider meeting with a financial advisor to help them determine which option is best for them.
- Third, the Guide suggests that couples may want to consider executing a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement may help protect each partner’s personal assets or protect them from the other’s debts.
- Fourth, the Guide recommends that couples discuss and develop a plan for how they are going to finance the wedding day with the goal of creating a budget and sticking to it.
- Lastly, the Guide recommends that couples should begin planning ahead for big expenses, even before marriage. Developing a plan on how to handle large or unforeseen expenses before these situations arise can help ensure financial success.
These five steps are helpful ways to begin a discussion with your future spouse regarding your joint financial future so that you can pursue financial success together.