You’ve booked the reception, you’ve tasted the cake, you bought the killer dress, but there’s one thing you may not have done yet: talk about money!
Don’t worry—it’s not too late, and you won’t have to call the band and cancel. With this ultimate guide full of important money questions, you and your fiance can talk about every financial detail so you’re cool, confident, and financially prepared for your big day.
1. How much debt do you have? This is probably the most important question you can ask a future spouse.
2. What is the max I can spend before I have to consult the other person? This will help prevent arguments about overspending in the future.
3. How much are we willing to spend on our parents if they get sick? It’s hard to quantify this amount, so this question is just more about acknowledging that this type of issue might come up.
4. How much will we spend to get fertility treatments or adopt if we have trouble conceiving? Take this time to look up the costs for both of those things just so you are aware in the future.
5. Who will be in charge of paying the bills? This is really important. My tip is to have one person handle day to day finances and the other person handle long term investments.
6. Who will be in charge of investing in our future? Really, both of you should be involved in investing in your future, but have one person be in charge of planning family meetings to talk about it.
7. How will we choose stocks if we want to buy some? Have you ever purchased stocks or mutual funds? Take some time to learn about them now while you are young.
8. How much do you think vacations should cost? Even if you have been dating for a long time, sometimes people have different visions of what they hope vacations will be like after they get married.
9. Did you take out student loans? This one is self explanatory.
10. If so, how much? This one is more important. If one of you is currently in school and you don’t know how much you have borrowed, go to your financial aid office or your credit report and find out today.
11. Have you ever declared bankruptcy? Hopefully you would have told your fiance this by now, but if you haven’t, they deserve to know.
12. Would you want to declare bankruptcy if we found ourselves in a tough spot? I hope you never have to face this tough decision, but talk about what might happen if you get to that point or even better, talk about how to prevent this.
13. Do you want to pay for more education in the future? It’s good to know if your future spouse has always wanted to go back to school, so you know it might be a potential cost in the future.
14. Do your parents pay for any of your current bills? If they do, will they be continuing to help you in the future?
15. Would you accept money from parents as help after we get married? Some spouses don’t like receiving outside help, so be sure to address this.
16. Do you currently owe money to any friends? If so, try to pay them back as soon as possible.
17. Do you prefer generic or name brand goods? This will help you learn about each other’s spending habits.
18. Do you like paying for things with cash or credit? If you pay with credit, do you always pay it off at the end of the month?
19. Do you have any money currently saved? I know the wedding is expensive, but if not, try to put aside just $50-$100 a month to get the savings account started.
20. Do you save money at the beginning or the end of the month? Try to save at the beginning. If you wait to save what is left over, there is often nothing left.
21. Do you participate in your company’s 401k match? If your company does not offer one, are you saving for retirement in another way, like in an IRA?
22. Do you max out your retirement accounts every year? If not, try to decide how you will be able to start doing so this year or next year.
23. How do you like to spend your “fun money”? On cars, shoes, purses, or pitchers of beer?
24. How much do you want to save for an emergency? Most experts recommend starting with a $1,000 buffer and then adding to it until you can cover 6 months of expenses.
25. How many kids do you want to have? You might have discussed about this already, but look up the financial costs of having children and talk about it.
26. Do you plan on paying for our children’s college education? If so, try to start saving when they are born.
27. Do you want our kids to go to public or private school? This is important to know, since it will affect your cash flow in the future.
28. Would you help your siblings financially if they needed it? And, would you expect them to pay you back?
29. Would you rather invest in a house, or invest in experiences, like traveling? This is a really good question to help determine your priorities.
30. Would you seek financial counseling if we decide we need it? It’s always good to know that your spouse is willing to get help if money issues come up in the future.
If you and your fiance can sit down and go through the questions above, you will already be light years ahead of many couples who are about to tie the knot. Remember that finances are the number one thing that couples argue about, so if you can combat many of these issues ahead of time, you are doing a great service to your marriage.
Asking questions can be extremely powerful, but those questions must be relevant to your life, and you must take the time to answer them. The 3 Questions That Will Lead to Guaranteed SuccessFeatured photo credit: Young couple in a romantic mood lying down outdoors in a parkvia Shutterstock