Five Financial Questions to Discuss Before the Wedding

“Will you marry me?” may be the most important question you get to ask in your life, but you should spend some time with your new bride to discover the answers to these key questions about your future.

How ambitious are we? If you or your bride expect to put in long hours at work or at school, get clear about those expectations now. Making a clear connection between the time you spend at work and the money you need to accomplish your goals can offset some of this conflict.

What financial goals do we share? If you’ve been lusting after the newest gaming system while your bride gets excited at mutual fund brochures, you should talk now about setting and keeping a budget. Figure out when you want to buy your house, and whether either of you plan to pursue any higher education during your marriage.

Who’s holding the checkbook? If you or your bride really enjoy crunching numbers, one of you can elect to act as the family CFO. Many experts recommend that each spouse maintain a separate bank account for their own discretionary spending, while contributing proportional amounts to a joint account to cover household expenses.

Where’s the money going? Work out how much money you expect to spend week to week on things like groceries, dining out, utilities, taxes, and charitable donations. Opening up each other’s books before the wedding can help you get on the same page during the critical first year of your marriage.

What investment strategies do we like? If you love the stability of savings bonds while your bride is a raving day trader, start a conversation about how you want to diversify your investments. Talking about your approach to risk now can avoid some stressful conflicts later in life.

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