The Importance of Discussing Finances Before Marriage

Tying the knot can be one of the happiest moments of your life, but that enjoyment can be quickly extinguished if you are not upfront with your spouse about finances. It is often said that you should not talk about money with others, but if you plan on spending the rest of your life with this person, it is a good idea to get everything out in the open about your debts and the current state of your credit score. Here are a few financial topics you should discuss with your partner before marriage:

Current amount of debt
The first question you should bring up with your spouse is one of the most broad: How much debt do you have? Credit, student loans, previous mortgages or even a charge card from a department store should all be divulged to your significant other. If you are unaware of the debt you have, you can check your credit report to get a better picture of where you are financially. By discussing your current debt standing, you can start planning your future budget and figure out how to pay everything back.

Credit scores
When you get married, you are probably planning to make a few major purchases together. These can include taking out a loan for a car or even applying for a mortgage. But to get qualified for a loan, you should have a good credit score. Without a high score, you could get a loan that is well below your estimates or that comes with a high interest rate that can result in expensive charges. You need to work as a team during marriage, and having two good credit scores can help with getting a loan that you want. Ask your partner what his or her score is and if either of your scores are below what you need, you can start improving them by making credit card payments on time and whittling down your debt.

Finance options
Before you purchase a new home to start your family, you should figure out a game plan for how you're going to pay for everything. Are you going to open a joint bank account to deal with your mortgage or each pay with your individual ones? Will you apply for a shared credit card or continue to use your own? These are just a few options you should consider before walking down the aisle.