Marriage Financial Checklist: 15 Things You Need To Ask Your Partner Before Tying The Knot

Marriage Financial Checklist: 15 Things You Need To Ask Your Partner Before Tying The Knot

More and more Malaysians are heading for an unhappily ever after. Statistics are showing that the number of divorces have nearly doubled over the last decade alone:


Marriages ending up in divorce may have something to do with spouses failing to live up to their expectations and obligations, with money matters often cited as one of the primary reasons. For example, if you’re a compulsive saver and your other-half has a knack for spending excessively, it can spell disaster for your relationship.

Couples fight more about money than anything else, so it’s no wonder why many hide their money issues.

How well do you know your partner financially? Are you both transparent about your expenses, or have you been keeping your business under wraps? More importantly, are you financially compatible?

We recommend that you do not walk down that aisle until you’ve asked, discussed and are satisfied with how your partner responds to these money questions from our marriage financial checklist.

Have you asked your spouse-to-be these highly-important, potentially life-changing questions:

      Are you in the dark about your partner’s income? A recent Fidelity study found that 43% of couples did not know how much their partners earned. About 10% missed the mark by over US$25,000.

      Getting a clear picture of your partner’s debt will help you assess if you’ll be entering a union with a troubled financial platform.

      And If he/she pays with credit, is he/she always able to pay it off at the end of every month? This will help determine what sort of spender your spouse is.

      You need to be specific and ask if your spouse has difficulty with handling money, especially more serious ones like gambling, overspending or if he/she has been declared bankrupt. What is his/her long-term plan to deal with it?

      Will one spouse manage all the household bills? If both spouses pitch in, do you and your spouse want to split all household bills to the middle, or pay according to your income?

      Agree in advance if you want to have separate accounts, a joint account, or a combination of the two. The answer will depend on what you’re comfortable with.

      Setting financial boundaries early on will help prevent arguments about overspending in the future.

      For some couples, buying a home tops the list. For others, it may be starting a business or travelling the world. Knowing what you both want to achieve as individuals is important as it’ll allow both of you to align your priorities. This is very important in improving your chances of staying together.

      Is it on cars, shoes, gadgets or hanging out with friends? This will also provide insight to your partner’s spending habits.

      Even if you’ve been dating for a while, sometimes people have different visions of what would make a cool vacation after they get married. Find out to avoid any disappointment, or shock, later on in your marriage.

      Sudden expenses like a broken roof or washing machine can crop out of the blue. It is best to keep some savings at hand to avoid future conflict.

      Those planning to start a family need to be clear about what it means financially. Will one of you work while the other stays at home? How will you afford this? If both plan to work, how does childcare fit into the picture?

      Or rather, how many can you realistically “afford”? You will need to thoroughly assess the financial costs of having children and talk about whether your current or future financial situations will allow it.

      Are your parents still paying for any of your current bills? Will you continue to accept help from your parents after marriage?

      Though prenuptial agreements are often associated with celebrities and the superrich, it makes sense to have one even if you’re an average Joe. For example, if your spouse has a significant amount of debt, a prenup can protect you from creditors. Even if you think you don’t need one, it’s still worth talking about what might happen financially if the marriage doesn’t work out.

    How well do you know your partner's financial habits?
    0 – 4 checked – Uh-oh. Looks like there could be trouble in financial paradise. It is time to sit down with your partner to understand and reassess each other’s financial habits.

    5 – 10 checked – It sure looks like you and your partner have been busy discussing about money, but there are still more grounds to cover. Further discussions on money management and learning to compromise in certain situations could potentially elevate your financial compatibility even more.

    11 – 15 checked – Congratulations, you and your partner are well on your way to a happily ever after – financially anyway! Together, you have taken the first step in mastering the art of joint money management and are most likely on your way to a cushy financial future.

    If more than half of the above are left unchecked, it’s time for you and your partner to get started in straightening out your combined financial expectations before the wedding bells ring.

    When you’re preparing to spend your life with someone else, checking on each other’s approach to finances may be the last (and the least romantic) thing on your mind, but it is not a subject you can afford to ignore. Putting out these money questions early on could just be the key of a happy and lasting marriage.

    Unit trust investments are a viable option to grow your savings pool to secure a brighter financial future for you and your partner. Also, check out these cool cashback credit cards that put money back in your wallet while you spend.

    Money is one of the top reasons why a marriage fails. Find out what a marriage expert has to say about money and marriage.


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