After two agonizing years of waiting, the big wedding day is finally near. But before you say your “I do’s” there is one more thing you need to check off your list - planning the financial journey you will take as a married couple. With finances being one of the leading causes for arguments and divorce, it is crucial you take this step together before walking down the aisle. Here are the three questions to ask before you get married.
The first question you should ask, will you be signing a prenuptial agreement? For some, the answer is simply “no” and they can move to the next question. But for others this is a complex and delicate process where both parties must seek individual counsel. In these agreements, topics to cover range from establishing a plan for their existing net worth and inheritance to the custody of a shared pet. How comprehensive an agreement is depends on the couple but the best thing to do is find a plan that benefits both parties.
The second question to ask, how will you set up your accounts? Surveys have found that 49% of baby boomers and 48% of Gen Xers join their accounts together (1 Konish). Whereas, the trend for millennials and younger generations are opting for entirely separate accounts. Some things to assess when making a decision to join or separate accounts include saving and spending habits, as well as the joint goals you want to reach together. There are pros and cons to each strategy but your priority should be regularly assessing your spending and savings to ensure it’s in line with your family goals.
The last question to ask, how will you save for large financial expenses? The national average savings for individuals under the age of 35 is $11,200 but the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $29,200 (2 McCain). Now, that doesn’t leave much wiggle room for your emergency expenses. As a couple, you will need to discuss your saving and spending habits to gain understanding of each other. Finding the strengths of each partner and utilizing them strategically is essential to get the most out of your conversation.
Teaching couples how to grow together and build wealth is one of the most rewarding parts of being a financial advisor. In fact, the journey I took with my partner started with simple budgeting conversations which grew into acquiring businesses and real estate - none of this would be possible without starting on the same page and consistently reviewing our goals together. If you find these questions are too difficult to ask or want some assistance, we are here to help. To start your financial journey together, use our complimentary Budgeting Workbook and book an appointment with KJ Dykema, MRFC® today.
1 Konish, L. (2022, March 7). Joint vs. separate accounts: How couples choose to handle finances could impact their financial success. CNBC. Retrieved June 28, 2022, from https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/07/joint-vs-separate-accounts-how-couples-choose-to-handle-money.html#:~:text=Baby%20boomers%20are%20most%20likely,versus%20just%2031%25%20of%20millennials.&text=Meanwhile%2C%2045%25%20of%20younger%20millennial,boomers%20who%20do%20the%20same.
2 McCain, A. (2022, June 7). U.S. Wedding Industry Statistics : Wedding services market trends and facts. Zippia. Retrieved June 28, 2022, from https://www.zippia.com/advice/wedding-industry-statistics/#:~:text=The%20American%20wedding%20industry%20is,of%20over%2062%25%20since%202020.%203%20https://www.sofi.com/learn/content/average-savings-by-age/