Like most people, getting married is a huge financial commitment. Unless you are both wealthy, there’s no way to get around the fact that joining your lives together will require some planning and preparation on the financial front.
Although if you’re not careful, those preparations can quickly become a source of contention and stress in your relationship. Even if you’re ready for the emotional challenges of marriage, are you prepared for the financial challenges?
Have you talked about finances and what your plans are for the future? Marriage is a big financial commitment, so it’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page. Here are ten signs that you and your partner are financially prepared to tie the knot.
#1 You know your (and your partner’s) budget
Before you settle down, it’s essential to know what you each make and how much money you spend. If both of you are not willing to share this information, then the chances are that marriage will be difficult for the two of you.
It’s easy to think only about the good things when dreaming of married life together, but remember, if one person consistently spends more than they make, this could cause financial problems in the future.
#2 You have saved up at least six months’ worth of living expenses
Although this may not be easy, you must have your living expenses saved before the marriage. This will help prevent credit card debt or other loans if you need to pay for something urgent. If both of can already save 10% from your income, that’s a good habit you can do together as you grow your family.
This could be your emergency fund as well because if something unexpected happens (car trouble, broken washing machine, etc.), at least you won’t need to worry about racking up high-interest debt. Your emergency fund can also come in handy when you purchase big-ticket items together (TVs, computers, appliances).
#3 You have your debts under control
If you and your partner have any debts, it is important to pay them off before getting married. This includes student loans, credit card debt, and car payments. Not only will this help reduce stress in the relationship, but it will also ensure that you will start your married life on a clean slate.
If you are enrolled in installment plans, you may also consider paying them in full. Although most banks charge processing fees for these requests, think first if the credit balance will affect your future monthly expenses once you settle down.
#4 You have opinions about banking offers, and you talk about them openly
Banks are constantly sending out offers for all kinds of current accounts and savings accounts. However, many people ignore them completely – without even reading through the benefits. If you and your partner have different opinions about banking offers, it could lead to disagreements in the future.
Suppose you’re comfortable airing out your opinions about these offers together while you’re not yet married. In that case, that’s a good sign you’re both acknowledging your differences when it comes to financial matters. Ideally, it would be best if you were both on the same page regarding your finances.
#5 You discuss money matters regularly and comfortably
Money is a taboo topic for many couples. Still, if you want your marriage to last, then you need to be able to openly discuss money matters with one another, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem at first.
The discussions should include saving money, spending money, and debt. It will help if you discuss how you’re going to ‘divide and conquer’ the bills and monthly expenses once you live on the same roof.
Discussion about lending money to siblings, relatives, and friends should be a non-negotiable because you can be entangled with their financial demands if you don’t learn to say ‘No.’ We all know how this works in a family-oriented culture, right?
#6. You are both financially secure
It is important that you are both in a good place financially before getting married. It means that you should not be relying on one another to support your lifestyle.
If one person is a stay-at-home parent and the other works in the future, it is still important that you are able to maintain your own finances and not become a financial burden on the working partner especially.
Some couples still rely on their parents’ income, and if you’re one of them, it’s best to discuss this with your partner before you settle down. When you are still dependent on your parents, there’s a higher chance that they will likely meddle in your marriage sooner or later. There’s always a trade-off when you’re still ‘sustentado.’
#7 You have a bank account separate from your partner
Using a joint checking account with your spouse isn’t necessary before getting married. In fact, doing this can often lead to arguments and disagreements about how money should be spent.
Having separate accounts helps prevent these problems and also ensures that you are putting away money for your individual needs so nothing is forgotten. If you can manage your finances while you’re still technically ‘single’ then you can practice this in your married life.
#8 You have a retirement plan in place
Are you and your partner planning for retirement together? Or do you have plans on how to retire on your own? Many Filipinos don’t actually think about retirement in their early 20s or 30s, but it’s important to start saving early if you want to achieve this goal.
Even if you don’t plan on retiring someday, having a side business going will put extra cash in your pocket once the kids have moved out of the house. You also don’t want to be a burden to your children once they are all grown up and have a family of their own.
#9 You have agreed and will stick to your wedding budget
If you and your fiance can agree on a budget for the wedding and set a realistic budget and stick to it, that’s a great indication that you’re both responsible with money and understand the importance of staying within your means.
While there’s nothing wrong with splurging when it comes to your wedding (hello! It’s once in a lifetime!) make sure you don’t go overboard with your expenses. If you have plenty of resources, why not splurge, right?
But if you will resort to personal loans with interest just to get your wedding dream, then you may end up starting your married life with financial turmoil as you pay off your debt instead of saving for your future family.
#10 You have fun and creative ways to spend and save money while enjoying each other’s company
Establishing a system of accountability to go along with your budget will help keep both you and your partner on track to saving more money each month. If you think you need to buy something, you both have a habit of asking, ‘Is it a need or a want?’
In addition, doing things together as a couple can be a great way to make spending fun. A few examples include going on “dates” (which includes staying in), watching movies at home instead of going out or cooking your meals over the weekend, and having your date night at home.
Finally, always being mindful of what you are buying and resisting the urge to impulse buy is a great way to save money without feeling too restricted.
If you need more tips on how to be financially savvy and moneysmart, here are some of the blogs we have written so far:
- The MoneySmart Guide to Creating a Pandemic-Proof Financial Plan
- 3 Top Ways To Plan Your Dream Wedding On a Budget
- Your Ultimate Guide: How to Cancel Your Credit Card (and Why)
- 7 Things You Need to Know About Personal Loans Before Getting One
Did you get 10/10? How do you handle finances right now? Are you confident that you’re ready for the next step? Let us know what you think in the comments below.