| Jan 27, 2015
It is often said by married people that the only thing they really - really - fought about before tying the knot was reading road maps.
Lamentably - but naturally enough – that list of gripes can positively blossom once there’s a 'ring on it.'
Marriage often means two independent earners have to learn to become one. That dynamic can quickly test even the happiest of co-navigators. But by discussing some of the more predictable financial stress points before tying the knot, couples can save themselves the heartache of dealing with it under duress later.
Here are some of the classic questions to work through with your spouse-to-be to ensure your union avoids some of those painful speed bumps:
1. How much money do we actually have together?
Trust is key and being open about your true financial state – including debts - is the best policy.
Tackling little surprises either of you failed to mention or in fact, kept hidden – be it a bad credit rating or an undisclosed debt – means it doesn’t need to become a bigger issue later on in married life.
After all, marriage ultimately means you inherit your other half’s financial record and reputation so it literally pays to know what you’re in for.
In the event that you are carrying debts, either credit card or otherwise, consider consolidating those debts. Taking out a new personal loan at a better rate might be just the opportunity you need to turn a new financial leaf and start your marriage in the best possible financial health.
It's always a good idea to shop around for the best deal, but before you start applying for a loan at different institutions, remember that every enquiry on your credit file leaves a negative mark on your report.
One way to avoid this, is by checking your credit score first. A site called GetCreditScore.com.au offers free credit scores, without harming your credit. Armed with this information, you may be able to get a direct quote from a number of online credit providers, like SocietyOne, without even having to submit an application.
In your research consider factoring in peer-to-peer loans - often this new type of lender can offer a loan at a better rate to the big banks due to their relatively low overhead costs.
2. Decide on who does what when it comes to financial tasks
Marriage counselors will readily tell you that money stresses are the cause of most crumbling unions. Finances can become a deal-breaker issue when one partner feels controlled by the spouse who exercises the most financial control, or communication breaks down over the stresses of paying bills and staying solvent.
One way to ward off stumbling into this fraught territory is to have clearly defined responsibilities and arrangements from the outset. Are you going to have a joint bank account and, if so, which expenses will regularly be drawn from that account? Similarly, will you retain individual accounts and for what purposes?
To ensure your household finances run as smoothly as possible, it is a good idea to divvy up the bill-paying duties so both of you are clear on your responsibilities and any debts are dealt with promptly.
3. Talk about your financial goals
Children, career-breaks, retirement – in the course of your life together you will likely face many financial challenges.
Compromises will have to be made and will invariably become easier if you are both making decisions with a shared purpose in mind – whether paying off your home, saving for your child’s school fees, putting aside money for overseas holidays, or investing for retirement.
Discuss your wish list and put the financial goalposts in place to get there together.
If you and your partner are looking to organise any outstanding debt before the big day then find out how to best consolidate your personal debt with SocietyOne today.