Falling in love is all rainbows and butterflies, but staying in love and forging a successful long-lasting relationship? To do that, you need to get real about so many things—one of which is money management.
Aside from popping the big question, you need to ask yourselves some serious money-related adulting stuff. Answers to these will help you decide whether or not you’re ready take on a new chapter in your lives financially.
Getting to know each other’s money management styles and credit history may be uncomfortable at first, but it will definitely help you both avoid future fights and be better partners for life.
Here are 10 questions to gauge how your financial and married lives will be like. If you can answer these honestly (and make changes where necessary), then by all means kiss the bride.
1. Do you have a savings account?
Get to know each other’s savings plans—both short- and long-term. Getting to know your savings purposes helps align your life plans and eliminate potential arguments down the road.
2. What are your long-term financial goals?
Now is the time for the both of you to seriously think about and educate one another on the different forms of investments. This can inspire you to learn more and keep building solid financial plans.
If you’ve already been investing, you can share what you know with your partner. It’s also best to start thinking about venturing into other forms of investment, only this time, with a trusted partner in crime.
3. Do you have credit cards? What do you use them for?
A really personal question, but this helps you get an idea about your partner’s spending habits. What do they spend a bulk of their money on?
You also need to get to know how wise they are when it comes to credit card usage. Are they aware of the rewards they’re getting? Fuel rebates? Discounts? How about accumulated air miles you can potentially use for your honeymoon?
You can see how practical your partner is based on how they use their credit card.
4. What’s your credit score?
Eventually, you might also need a car loan or a home loan for your growing family. In case it is needed, would at least one of you be eligible for a loan?
Does your partner have delinquent personal debts? You should know if your partner has co-signed for a delinquent loan, or is still paying for their parents’ mortgage, property taxes, or loan. Ask them how they plan to settle this, or you can help them out on the settlement, too.
As a couple, you should think about helping each other on the repayment. This way you can maintain a good credit score and plan out your first few years together by prioritizing expenses and debt settlement.
5. Do you have health insurance?
Whether employed or self-employed, it’s always important to have a health insurance plan.
Ask if there is an option to add each other to your Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Health Insurance plans for back-up and, possibly, even bigger health insurance coverage.
Another thing worth asking is its pregnancy coverage inclusion. Look into coverage upgrade if you’re planning to start a family anytime soon.
6. Do you still borrow money from your parents?
This determines how independent you both are financially. It’s great to have a cushion—an accommodating family to run to in times of need. But it’s a red flag if one of you is still relying on others for the smallest inconveniences.
And on the other side of the coin is this question:
7. Are you helping out your family? If so, how do you plan to support both our married life and your family?
This should be clarified right from the start. As Filipinos, we don’t even have to be told to support our family, even after we’ve moved out.
It just comes naturally for most of us, whether our family asks for it or not. It drives us to work hard knowing we’re helping a lot of people along the way.
But this, of course, is about to change when you start your own family. It’s best to discuss the course of action in supporting your family as early as now.
Setting healthy boundaries when extending financial help to your family is very important. You shouldn’t demand they stop sending their youngest sibling to college, but maybe any further financial help needs to be seriously discussed between the both of you.
8. What are your lifelong plans?
Learn how your partner thinks financially. What are your priorities? Are you on board with each other’s plans?
This is also the best time to agree on how many kids you plan to raise. You can set the life you want for them as early as now.
You can then set plans on how to grow your income and fulfill these for your family’s future.
9. To merge or not to merge?
You will merge lives, families, and finances. So how will you go about managing your income now that you’re married?
Who will manage the finances? Who’s in charge of paying the bills? This one needs a serious sit down and will rely on the role each one is going to take in the relationship.
Some couples have a joint account for living expenses. You can talk about the percentage that goes with every financial responsibility: utility bills, rent/mortgage, credit card, and the list goes on.
10. What are your advocacies?
It’s one thing to improve both your lives and another to extend this initiative outside of your home. You can inspire others to do better, spread positivity, and help improve their lives.
What are the things you’re passionate about? Pay it forward by giving back to the community in whatever way you see best.