Money moves for engaged couples
Getting engaged is an exciting time for couples, and talk of the wedding and planning details may dominate their conversation for several months.
However, it’s important for couples to be prepared for the financial aspect of being married after the big wedding day is over, and partners who begin discussing money management topics early on may be better equipped navigate their joint finances.
There are several actions couples should take to prepare themselves for making unified financial decisions, and the first is getting all skeletons out of the closet. Individuals should come clean about credit card debt, student loans and any other financial obligations that may impact their spending. This enables partners to get a better idea of where they are starting out financially and also develop a budget that takes these expenses into account.
During this period, it can also be helpful for individuals to pull copies of their credit reports and scores to swap their information with their finances. Couples may make big decisions after tying the knot – such as purchasing a home or a new vehicle – and having this information on hand can demonstrate to individuals whether their credit needs work. This is particularly true if newlyweds plan to apply jointly for a mortgage or auto loan.
Goal setting is important for new couples:
After couples are aware of where each partner stands, developing a budget is a smart idea. This will not only be a collaborative effort that helps them reach their goals, but also demonstrates which categories each person prioritizes. For example, one person may want to focus on savings, while another wants to pay down debt. Couples might find that one is a spender, while the other prefers to save. Learning about these habits early on gives individuals time to have a discussion about money, set spending parameters and develop a budget that satisfies each other’s wants and needs.
When partners are just starting out, it’s likely that they may have both individual and joint goals. One might want to go to graduate school or relocate to take a new job, and both might have ideas about home-ownership, retirement and starting a family. As their finances are a core factor in how they plan to manage and prioritize these goals, determining timelines and building savings around these deadlines can help engaged couples develop an organized financial plan.