US News has an article about the things you should know about your “spouse to be” before you decide to marry. Why ask about money? Because money is the top reason people get divorced. So here goes:
- How much debt do you have? Definitely a romance buzz-killer, but you’re going to be marrying this person and sharing their life. You should ask this question, and if you have a lot of debt, you should absolutely volunteer this information. Especially in an age when student loan debt often exceeds five figures, debt is a big deal and can lead to serious conflict.
- What’s your credit score? A follow-up to the previous question. If it’s bad your future spouse may have a spending problem.
- What about our children? Kids are expensive. Want to pay for child care, expensive schooling, a nanny? Will one spouse stop working to take care of the kids?
- What about our parents? You learn a lot from your parents. If they are frugal, their children may be also; if they are spendthrifts who have no savings not only will you not get an inheritance, you may find your spouse will also be careless with money.
- Who is paying what? Is this going to be a two income household? Is one partner coming into the marriage with a lot more money than the other and are they going to pool their finances or keep them separate? Who’s going to pay the bills and make the investment decisions? Who’s the organized one and who is careless?
As we said earlier, money is at the root of a lot of the conflicts in a marriage. There are a lot of compatibility issues when you decide you want to spend your lives together. Make sure that financial compatibility is well thought out.