Many modern gals are moving in with our boo’s long before marriage, and it makes a lot of sense. Testing the waters is generally a good call before going all in. The romantic in me thinks that love always trumps, but the lawyer in me reminds me that marriage is ultimately a contract and the last thing you want to do is fight about money.
According to Sonya Britt, an assistant professor of family studies and human services at Kansas State University, "Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce."
To make sure you have harmony while living together before marriage, I have put together six tips to keep you focused on the romance, not the financials.
Before you call the movers . . .
Talk about money before you move in, and definitely before marriage. This should be a no-brainer, but many people forgo this important discussion. Getting on the same page about money means having a discussion about your financial situation (yes, that means your debt and student loans); your financial priorities (like buying a house or going back to school); and your financial obligations (child support or taking care of family).
Create a house account that each of your contributes to, which can be used to cover joint expenses. The contribution doesn’t have to be equal depending on each individual’s financial position but it should create joint accountability. Comingling financials gets complicated, and having a separate account ensures there are no petty arguments about who pays what. Simple is an easy to use mobile bank that makes creating a separate account easy to set up.
Chill out on the bling
Do not overspend on big-ticket gifts. Who doesn’t love to receive or give a great gift? But remember: If it doesn’t work out, that gift is theirs to keep!
Don't legally bind yourself
No cosigning on loans or credit cards. Sure, we want to prove that our love has no limits, but believe me, there are limits. Remember becoming a cosigner on a car loan or credit card is a legal obligation and, if the relationship sours, you are still legally responsible for any unpaid debts.
Lay it all on the table
No money secrets. Be transparent about your financial situation, especially if it changes. There is nothing like a financial secret to ruin the mood. If you are having financial troubles, make sure your honey knows about it, so you can feel supported and get the help you need to take care of your business.
First comes love, then comes marriage . . .
The key is to make sure the cost of your wedding does not screw up your financial future. I know way too many couples that go in debt for a wedding and end up facing financial woes as newlyweds. Your priority upon marriage should be investing in a home, not worrying about the savings you blew on your caterer.