Sure, marriage is all about love, but it is also about building a life with another person and finances are a significant part of this new life. When couples experience financial issues, especially early on, it can have a damaging effect on their marriage for many years. Before saying 'I do', there are specific financial steps every person should take, such as:
Make an effort to minimize as much of your debt as you can before marriage. Although you might not be able to pay off your student loans or your vehicle, credit card debt and other non-revolving expenses should be eliminated, or paid down significantly, at the least.
This step is important for a variety of reasons, but for one it helps free up extra money. When you join in marriage, you will likely have some expenses that you did not have before. If you have high credit card balances, you may have less money to contribute to these expenses. Additionally, should you and your partner want to buy a home together, a high debt-to-income ratio may prevent you from doing so.
It's also a good idea to sit down and establish some financial goals for yourself. For example, establishing the age by which you want to retire will help you determine just how aggressively you need to save now.
Another important goal is to create a credit card utilization ratio by which you won't exceed, such as 15%. When you set these goals, you will have a better sense of direction once you get married, and your finances are combined, to stay on track. These goals will also give your future partner a general idea as to the direction you're headed.
Speak with your Future Spouse
You're getting ready to join your life with another person, so no topic should be off-limits, including finances. It is imperative that you sit down with your future partner and talk about finances. Not only can you discuss the goals you have established for yourself, but you can also learn about their financial health and goals.
For example, what type of credit score do they have, how much credit card debt do they carry, do they pay their bills on time. These are all factors that will have an impact on your finances once you're married, so get everything out in the open first.
A financial advisor can help you prepare your finances for marriage and even assist you and your partner in the future. Don't hesitate to seek assistance from one of these professionals.