31 Financial Questions to Ask Before Marriage
Love can make you invincible until overdue house rent becomes scarecrow stealing your bed time. Living on paycheck to paycheck can meddle with your romantic life. Unfortunately, you only notice the weight of the struggle when there’s little to do about it.
Asking financial questions may seem hard but it is a must. In this material world, we need money to complement the abstract. Fear and anxiety about finances can give you a loud mouth, make you quick tempered, cause fatigue, sleepless nights, poor coping habits and make you get even with your partner.
Financial Questions to Ask Your Partner
Ramsey Solutions did a study in 2017 that found that money is the number one issue married couples argue about: “41% of couples who have consumer debt say that they argue about money and it’s what they argue about the most.” Rachel Cruze.
Before marriage, you want to know these things about your partner.
1. Are you a saver or spender?
Knowing your partner’s financial habit is a key to weeding out money battles in your home after marriage. You may ask, isn’t it too early to start discussing that?
Experts say “money fights are one of the leading causes of divorce today.” If that is a fact, you should do what you can now to have a future plan regarding finance.
Having future plan for handling money will depend on understanding how you both perceive money. By that I mean, is it a big deal for you or your partner to save or not?
This brings us to nerds and free spirits.
A nerd is a saver. The one who thinks every dollar counts. And there’s a need for safe box under the bed. Nerds are like bloggers, they’re in love with the metrics.
Just as bloggers pay attention to number of word count, number of visitors per month etc. nerds play with figures, carefully working on the monthly budget and putting together the numbers. They are mindful of what each penny buys.
Free spirits are more of a spendthrift. The numbers mean less to them. What matters is money goes, money comes. They don’t see the need for safe box or keeping a budget less living up to it.
While that may not sound alarming, imagine working 3 jobs just to pay your son’s college fee and your wife came home with 3 bags full of dresses for days of the week and a special one for Sunday and weekend gown?
Ok! Don’t holler just yet. Its all in your head.
In real life, that may lead to money fight and easily promote divorce. It is the reason you need know the kind of person you tying the knot with to have plans in advance.
As your wedding plans are underway; you should know what financial experts suggest before you say I do. If you are already married, this approach should save your money and marriage.
Creating Monthly Budget
Marriage should last forever, anything that disrupts it and breaks it from serving the intended purpose must be driven away before it succeeds. Money can be a factor your marriage doesn’t see the day of light.
That is why financial experts came out with a plan. First thing is to create a monthly budget. The other is decision-making. This can be dauting to a fee spirit and cause misunderstanding as he or she doesn’t see the need.
But if you are all interested in working towards financial freedom and lasting marriage, both parties should sit together on this.
Good news is, a free spirit doesn’t have to prepare the budget. The nerd will take care of that but you both must make the decision.
Budget Making Guidelines for Couples by Ramsey Solutions
According to Ramsey Solutions, financial institute committed to helping people regain control of their money, and build wealth since 1992, both spouses must sit down to have a budget committee meeting.
Roles of each partner must be recognized.
Rules for the nerd:
- Listen to the free spirit
- Let your spouse contribute
- Keep it brief
Rules for the free spirit:
- Show up to the meeting
- Contribute your opinions
- Be realistic
“If you’re tired of budgeting with pen and paper, check out EveryDollar. It’s free and takes less than 10 minutes to set up!”
2. How much debt do you have?
You want to know the financial baggage your partner is bringing into the marriage. Do not assume because someone looks good or have few properties they are doing well.
You should know if they have unsettled loans. Remember, debts affect your credit score.
3. Do you plan paying the debts together or separately?
Ok! Since you are joining hands in marriage, what are the plans concerning paying off the debts? Is there any? Does the plan involve you?
Is there any pending student loan? Try getting to the bottom of student loan. Recently, my cousin is having a hard time with a student loan institution.
He was a guarantor for a friend many years ago. The friend failed to pay off the loan. Bad enough, he keeps lying about the actual debt left to his family and my cousin.
The loan company mentions a huge sum of money and insist he only started paying years ago and stopped. While he claims to be paying and almost done with it.
Now, the institution decides to publish his name in national newspaper and also file a law suit against him and my cousin. So, make sure there is no hidden bill awaiting you after marriage.
Plan for Getting Out of Debt by Rachel Cruze
If you are in debt, you can make arrangement to become debt free. Take a look at Ramsey Solutions plan for getting out of debt: the debt snowball.
- Write down all your debts from smallest to largest, regardless of interest rates. You’re going to make minimum payments on everything but the smallest balance.
- Pay extra on your smallest debt. I mean, you need to attack that thing with everything you’ve got!
- Once your smallest debt is gone, take that payment (and any extra money you can squeeze out of your budget) and apply it to the second-smallest debt while continuing to make minimum payments on the rest.
- Once that debt is gone, take its payment and apply it to the next-smallest debt, and so on. The more you pay off, the more your freed-up money grows and gets thrown onto the next debt—like a snowball rolling downhill.
4. What is your credit score?
A credit score is a number between 300-850 that depicts a consumer’s creditworthiness. The higher the score, the better a borrower looks to potential lenders.
A credit score is based on credit history: number of open accounts, total levels of debt, and repayment history, and other factors.
Lenders use credit scores to evaluate the probability that an individual will repay loans in a timely manner. Read more about credit score from Investopedia.
You want to know a partner’s credit score as it determines his or her ability to make orders regarding expensive properties like house, car etc.
You can work together to improve your credit score to have successful financial goals. Experian, a major credit reporting agency in the United States, which report, update, and store consumer’s credit histories has a tutorial on improving your credit scores.
What Affects Your Credit Scores?
- Payment history
- Credit usage
- Length of credit history
- Types of accounts
- Recent activity
What Is Credit?
Investopedia defines credit as a contract agreement in which a borrower receives a sum of money or something of value and repays the lender at a later date, generally with interest.
5. Should you combine finances?
If you choose to combine finances, you must know that your spouses low or good credit score can affect your finance.
Having joint account completely depends on your preference even though financial experts say couples with joint account do well financially.
If you are not sure about type of saving method to choose, consult an expert before making any decision.
6. What is your timeline for buying a home?
Our timeline for buying home may defer depending on our preferences and nature of work. Our financial capacity also determines when we may be ready to buy a home.
If we know our timeline for buy a house, we will know how to save for it and how much we will allocate.
7. Do you plan on supporting your family outside the marriage?
It is important to know how we may want to be involved with our extended family. Even though our extended family may not be demanding, we may choose to support them.
In Ghana, usually, your parents or siblings support you to finish your education or get a good business and expect you to look back home.
If you are from a home where there’s no one expecting you to give back, there may be conflict of interest as the other partner shares his or her wealth with extended family.
8. Who do you expect to handle the payment of bills?
Back home, my dad handles payment of bills. I don’t think there had been any official agreement on this. But in our culture, men are responsible for things of these sorts.
We are all from different homes. Somebody may not come from such background, and when we do not talk about this, it may become a problem in the future.
9. How much do you think is ok to spend without consulting your spouse?
This may sound strange but things can get there. Couples do have issue with how much one is to spend out of the budget. Spending beyond it can lead to money fight.
So before you get together one day, you may want to have a rough idea what your partner thinks about the subject.
The problem is, failure to do something about it in your marriage may result to problem. when there’s frequent argument over how much somebody spends, one of you may develop hide and seek approach.
Instead of facing another heated argument on money spent, you tend to avoid running purchasing plans by your spouse and also hide or lie about your expenditure.
This is what financial experts refer to as financial infidelity. Just as any infidelity, financial infidelity can lead to serious problems in your marriage.
10. Do you think it is important to save for retirement?
Age comes with pressure. Pressure from responsibilities and health associated problems. Responsibilities could range from financial challenges to dealing with immediate or extended family crises.
As you age, your strength reduces, hence your ability to work and care for yourself and family. That is why it is important to make plans to save for your retirement.
Asking this question will help you know your partner’s take on the subject and know how to help him or her in this area.
Saving towards retirement is very important. One must understand that age has its health challenges and studies shows that money stress also comes with health issues like migraines, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and sleep problems.
You don’t want to be dealing with age and diseases accompanying money stress at retirement.
If you want to know how to stop worrying about money for good, check out Rachel Cruze’s new book: Know Yourself, Know Your Money.
I haven’t read this book as at the time of writing this post but reading financial items from Rachel assures me this book will not be a disappointment at all.
11. Would you be ready to get a second job if we have financial problem?
American Psychological Association’s (APA) latest stress in America survey found that 72 percent of Americans reported feeling stressed about money at least some time in the prior month.
Running into financial problem is no shame. Many folks are seeing negative results in their finance by day. But taking additional job may not be an alternative to your spouse depending on his or her priorities.
If your spouse doesn’t have plans getting second job, you should both sit and thrash it out then know the best approach to take regarding your financial burden.
12. What are your views about renting or buying a home?
Home purchasing has always been on my mind. I hate renting personally. That may be because I have always stayed in my parents home all my life.
And I have access to almost everything without having to share with strangers and someone deciding how I use them. Here at home, where I write this article, I am in my own apartment.
One thing for me is, I don’t want to marry into my father’s home. I want to move out before getting married.
Buying a home is expensive. But as I said, I hate renting. So I need to discuss with my girlfriend what she thinks about renting and buying a home because it can tend out to be a major setback in our relationship.
It may delay our timeline for getting married. This is why we must both discuss it and know what to do about it.
If we are renting after marriage, how long and how do we save for it. Plus, when do we move to our own apartment? How do we save for it? Even discussing type of home, we want to purchase.
At times, this depends on not only your level of finance but work as well. How long will you stay in a city? Will your company transfer you anytime soon? Are you self-employed? Do you plan establishing in that city?
Note that, buying home gives you security, and stability. You don’t have to deal with other tenants or homeowners. Plus talk about rent increment.
13. How much money do you earn?
“78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.” Rachel Cruze. From hand to mouth is a usual thing for most people around the globe. This is why money stress is common in homes.
Knowing your partner’s financial strength gives you a rough understanding of who you dealing with in terms of finance and how you both will work together to create a reasonable budget around your finance.
Furthermore, not everybody has the same opportunity living on a paycheck. Others are still unemployed.
14. How was money managed in your home growing up?
While this may sound too personal and intruding; you want to know your partner’s financial habit by understanding how money was manage in their home.
We are influenced by what we see happen home when growing. If money was a major argument in your partner’s home, it may affect how he or she process financial issues.
Hence, his or her family financial history is important.
15. What are your financial goals?
Whether a nerd or free spirit, financial goal is a must. Avoiding this subject only makes life harder as you age. Perhaps many relationships may be better-off today had they thought of this and work towards it.
What Are Financial Goals?
A financial goal is an outline for your money i.e. short-term financial goal: monthly budgets, long-term financial goal: saving for home, investing for retirement.
Financial goals determine your financial focus. What your money buys, how much you spend and keeping your expenditure in check.
To achieve long-term financial goal, you must meet a short-term goal. For example, to buy a home 5 years from now, you must prepare a weekly or monthly budget that will help you save for it.
Examples of financial goals:
- Planning a business
- Saving for a house
- Planning for marriage
- Saving for kid’s education
- Building an emergency fund
- Paying off debt
- Saving for car
- Saving for retirement
16. What are your views when it comes to charitable giving?
This comes to play as you think of helping others either orphans, friends or family. The decision how your money is spent outside the household is necessary to discuss.
How do you assist family, how much do you loan to friends among others?
17. What are we going to teach our children about money?
Money is a big subject in individual’s life and marriage. You want to raise your kids in such a way they will not become handicap when they grow.
Even if you are well to do parents, you may want to teach your children how you handle money. All these will depend on both of you. Talk about it and see what best suits you.
18. How long have been working at your current job?
Before you marry, you want to know your partner the best way you can to avoid any surprises.
Knowing how long a person works in a corporation makes you understand their commitment, focus, financial plan and their plan to build a personal business.
I personally don’t have interest in working for other people. Though I worked at few places, I barely spend two years with any employer.
While this may be because of different factors, it may also give you a fair idea the type of person you are dealing with in terms of stability and priorities.
I know a man who has been keeping a pharmacy he didn’t own since I was a baby. The first picture it presents is loyalty and commitment before you start looking at how much does he earn?
19. Is your current job your only job?
Just as the first question, you want to know how many jobs partner has tried out by far. As it could give a clue who you dealing with.
20. Why did you quit your first job?
This can even be better. When it comes to money, people easily showcase their real life and what matters to them most.
Knowing why people quit their jobs can let you understand a few deep things about their personality i.e. temperament, financial expectations, commitment, and future plans.
21. How many jobs have you done the last 20 years?
This question also gives you same understanding of your partner but allows you to view different angels of his or her financial decision-making and entire approach to life. Then you also know what your partner has been dealing with for the past years.
22. What type of house do you want to live in?
Don’t underrate this question. It will let you know the challenge you are going to face in the future when you fail to meet this criterion.
Some dreams don’t go away even if they are unachievable. Leaving you vulnerable to the wrath of your partner the rest of your life. The earlier you know, the earlier you start preparing your partner for any eventuality.
23. Do you have a bank account?
First step to creating a bank account is cultivating saving culture. Even if one does not expect frequent flow of money through his or her account, having one creates an impression they are willing to be a saver.
24. How do you plan on saving?
You don’t need marriage counsellors or financial gurus or any divorce statistics to tell you money is splitting homes if you have been around for long.
This is why you want to know your partner’s saving culture. How you could both contribute to make a better decision in achieving a good saving plan which can save you in times of emergency and timely decisions.
25. Do you plan on having any inheritance?
Property can become handy after you are out of the scene that is when you have children or family members.
The decision to leave a legacy would be based on your idea of inheritance and who you plan leaving it for or if you do think it is important at all.
26. Do you have any insurance?
Are you on any insurance, type of insurance, who is it covering and what property. How do you contribute towards it?
And how long will it take to mature? Are you having the insurance with a reliable, reputable insurance company?
27. How do you get your car?
No offense! This question can lead to many untold stories. Asking it is very important. If your partner has a property you are not aware of its source, it will be good asking instead of just enjoying it.
It does go beyond cars. It may be a house, an office, a device he or she uses for work. You want to know if it is an inheritance or if they paid for it, is it a loan?
Are they done paying for it? How do they plan on paying for it? Will you be involved in the payment? Does the property belong to a friend? Is it borrowed or hired?
If you know anything at all about this world and relationships, and humans, you will know the need for these questions.
28. How do fuel the car?
The earlier the better I guess. The sooner you know how the property is maintained the better for your financial and physical health and your expectations. That is all I am going to say. You will know it when it happens.
29. Do you have a driver license?
Driving or ridding without a license seem no big deal until trouble finds you. And dealing with this can be a headache for long and cause you money more than the license costs.
Its good you both talk about it and know how to go about getting one sooner or later.
30. At what age would you like to retire?
Retirement age may differ from country to country. Individuals also have their accepted working age. Perhaps how long they choose to work for the government or a private industry.
Knowing how long a person plans on working helps make good plans while they still in active work.
Saving for retirement is very important.
31. What would you do during retirement?
Do you plan working on voluntary projects after retirement? Will you start your own business? Which way is applicable for you after going on pension?
Money is not everything, but don’t go into marriage without knowing your partner’s take on money. Men and women perceive money differently.
Understanding how your man or woman handles money or intends working with money or family financial history will help make informed decision to prevent financial stress in the future.
Let your partner understand you do not mean to pry, rather have in-depth knowledge about how you both appreciate money that you may take appropriate steps to have your finance under control.
Asking financial questions may not be enough. You do not want to have joint account with an abuser who may later deny you access to your own money.
That is why you have to ask all the questions there is to ask before you do. Here are 100 plus questions to ask before marriage.