Thinking Of Getting Married: Are Your Money Mindsets Compatible?

Getting married is easy! It’s as simple as signing a piece of paper and saying a few words. Staying married—that’s where it becomes tricky, especially with divorce rates at 50%. When it comes to combining two separate—and perhaps different—money lives into one family, there are important questions to explore during the courtship process that, while might be delicate, are vital to uncover in order to solve the steps to making two checkbooks into one.

We know that a successful marriage comes with compromise and the willingness to adapt. We know that the time of courtship creates an overload of activated brain neurons that lead to an overflow of emotions; reason can take a back seat. We also know 50% of marriages end in divorce and one of the most common reasons is financial.

Money is power or for some, lack of power. Money is respected or it’s not. Money can be used judiciously or wasted. Money can enhance or ruin your life. At the end of the day, it’s better and smart to understand how your mate views money before finalizing your decision to make your partnership legal.

You can and in fact, must, look for clues by listening carefully and asking good, thoughtful questions of your future spouse. It is unlikely that magical changes in money behavior will occur once the “I do’s” have been spoken.

Following are 10 things to look out for when it comes to figuring out your partner’s money intentions and habits.

  1. Listen for comments about bills that are in collection or late in payment, including the level of student debt.
  2. Is talking about money difficult or easy?
  3. Observe spending habits. Is it thoughtful or careless?
  4. Share stories about growing up and the role money played.
  5. Was money talked about by their parents and discussed openly?
  6. Did they receive an allowance? Was it saved or spent frivolously?
  7. Ask about a goal they sought to achieve and what it was like. What did it take to succeed?
  8. Ask about a failure and how they dealt with that. Remember, resilience is vital in building a successful future.
  9. Find out if your future in-laws are financially stable. That doesn’t mean they have to be rich, but financial instability can mean their care might be in your future.
  10. Listen for comments about work, the future and whether your intended’s attitudes are focused to success.

The information you can glean from understanding these 10 items can give you information about the future. Will you be someone who is open to talking about money and making collaborative decisions? Will you be married to someone who spends without consideration of the outcomes? Will you sleep next to someone who will bury the relationship in debt and misery?

As money issues is one of the key reasons why marriages fail, it makes sense to know as much as possible as early as possible in the relationship. Some new couples have difficulty with the idea of combining assets. They don’t want to held ‘accountable’ or have someone scrutinizing their spending decisions. This can be a warning sign of behavior that can become a serious problem in the future.

In a society where so many marriages end in failure for a variety of reasons, money doesn’t have to be one of them. By actively seeking to understand your future partner’s money history and mindset, you increase your chance for making an informed decision.