Marriage is single-handedly the most adult decision I have made in my life, despite the fact that I’ve supposedly been an adult for quite some time now. The decision to contractually and legally bind my life, my future, my family, and – most notably – my finances with another human isn’t something to take lightly. Of course, there’s plenty of advice out there for people in my engaged situation. In fact, I’m quickly learning that pretty much everyone has an opinion about marriage. And it can get overwhelming if you try and listen to all of it.
Instead, I’ve tried to focus my research on the most intimidating and often stressful part of getting married – the finances. As lucky as we are to live in a culture that allows marriage to be chosen for love, there is a very pragmatic element to signing contracts with another person. I could easily love and spend my life with the man I’m going to marry without actually marrying him. But, becoming contractually obligated to him is like any other investment. There are, of course, some personal risks and a ton of possible rewards. But one of the ways to mitigate (or at least better understand) those risks is to sit down with your spouse-to-be and get honest and clear about your attitudes towards money.
Whether you’re currently engaged, plan on getting engaged, or just hope to someday get married, here are a few starting points for important financial discussions you should have with your partner to help strengthen the foundations of your present and future relationship.