People just about to embark on married life, need to be smart about their finances.
The most common worry my female clients have when they come to see me, is money. It is very common for wives to leave the family’s finances in the capable hands of their husbands. This is fine when things are going well but if things turn ugly in the marriage, it leaves them in a very precarious position.
Many female clients have no idea about the state of the family’s finances and often are even unsure how much their husband earns.
It is important to think with your head as well as your heart before embarking on your marital journey with your new husband or wife. Both parties need to be to be smart about their finances. This avoids them falling into problems later on if the worst happens and the marriage fails.
Well in advance of the wedding date, it is important to make sure you have a very clear understanding of your partner’s finances. You can’t be shy about this. Find out about their spending habits, debts, and their thoughts on how your accounts will be dealt with once you are married- i.e. will they be joint or separate? The sorts of questions you should be asking are….
- How much money do you earn?
- What are your assets and liabilities?
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy and are there any court judgments against you?
- Do you pay child or spousal maintenance?
- If we purchase a home or make other investments, will these be held jointly?
- What about pre-marital assets and liabilities – will they also be shared jointly or will they remain separate?
If your husband or wife-to-be owns a business or professional practice, make sure you understand its revenues, expenses and net income. Does the business have assets/liabilities? Are they personally liable for those liabilities?
Jeffrey A. Landers, an American Divorce Financial Strategist, states that:
“Having these conversations well before the wedding minimizes the risk of financial surprises later. It also helps establish the good habit of sharing financial information, expectations and worries.”