Vital money questions to ask your partner before walking down the aisle

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Marriage and Money Matters

When Cupid's arrow hits you and love is in the air, the logistics of marriage (including the finances) may be easily overlooked. Although talking about money-related topics openly can be uncomfortable, it's vital to have money conversations before you commit to someone forever.

You don't want to find out after it's too late that you and your spouse don't share the same money mindset or financial goals. So ask these questions before walking down the aisle:

[See: 13 Money Tips for Married Couples.]

What are your income and career goals?

Opposites may attract in the honeymoon stage, but it takes more than attraction to get you through forever together. The less romantic aspects of the relationship like career and income goals deserve your attention. Understanding how each of you values money and career growth is necessary for both sides to avoid disappointment.

For example, if you are ambitious and income-driven, you may grow resentful of a partner who is family oriented and disinterested in career advancement. On the other hand, your partner may become dissatisfied if you're spending long nights at the office and missing out on family memories.

Now: Two people can find balance in differences and make it work. However, both parties should have realistic expectations of what the other will bring into a relationship financially and emotionally before walking down the aisle.

[See: 10 Money Leaks to Shut Down Now.]

What's your credit score?

Your ability to qualify for credit, a mortgage, an auto loan and more relies on your credit score. Knowing where your partner stands shows you how responsible he or she is with debt and if you'll be able to qualify for loans and credit as a couple in the future.

Like most financial topics, asking someone their credit score over drinks may be a bit forward for the first date. When marriage talks enter the equation, this is a necessary conversation to have. If your partner has a less-than-perfect score, it's not the end of the world. With this knowledge, you can devise a plan to rebuild credit together.

RELATED: Don't miss these expert tips on how to teach your kids about money:

Lessons that teach your kids to save money
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Lessons that teach your kids to save money

Play money-centered board games or games on apps, like Monopoly or Money Race.
It's an interactive and fun way for your kids to learn about basic financial practices without feeling like they're being lectured.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Give them an allotted amount of cash to spend on lunch each week.
Your child will learn how to budget accordingly throughout the week, figuring out how to balance spending money on food some days vs bringing their own on other days (something that can be directly translated into the adult workplace).

Photo credit: Getty

Have them write down or tell you their absolute dream toy.
Then, show them that it's possible to have that toy if they save x enough money for x amount of weeks.

Photo credit: Getty

Give them an allowance.

Photo credit: Alamy

Stick to a set time and date each month for giving your child their allowance.
Practicing giving your children their allowance every other week or on certain dates of each month will help them prepare for set paydays in the working world--it will teach them to budget out and how to know when to save up in anticipation.

Photo credit: Getty

Match your child's savings each month.
This will imitate a 401K and show your child ways in which saving can (literally) pay off.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Have your kid organize their funds in to different jars to represent different accounts.
Examples could be "Saving", "Spending", "Charity", "Emergency", "College".

Photo credit: Getty

Take your kids grocery shopping and explain certain choices you make with your purchases to them.
Your children will benefit from knowing what's best to purchase name brand vs. generic, why some snacks are better to buy in bulk, etc.

Photo credit: Getty


How much debt do you have?

Student loan debt is at $1.2 trillion and growing, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Over 40 million Americans are in the process of repaying these loans, so dating someone with debt is probably not a deal breaker for most. If it were, the dating scene would be slim pickings.

What you need to know is the amount of debt your partner has and his or her debt-repayment plan. If you have no debt and prefer to keep it that way, a partner who uses debt on top of student loans to support a lifestyle may not be a good match.

[See: How to Live on $13,000 a Year.]

How much do you have in savings?

Savings can be another pressure point in a marriage. Bad money habits are hard to break. If your partner has difficulty saving money, it's going to be a struggle for you to build a rainy day fund.

As a married couple, you'll want to buy a home, start a family, maybe pay for your children's education, take trips and enjoy life; all of this requires savings discipline. Ask how much your partner has in savings and how much he or she puts away each month. You need to know if you're committing to a spender or saver.

What's your vision for retirement?

Even if you're young, retirement age will sneak up on you. Don't put off this conversation. After all, you'll be working together with your spouse to turn your retirement dreams into a reality for the next few decades, so you may as well put a strategy in motion.

Does your partner contribute to a 401(k) or have an investment account outside of work? If so, ask how much he or she is setting aside. Then, figure out if what you're both saving puts you on track to save enough for the lifestyle you want in retirement.

Final Word

Nobody is perfect. You may fall in love with someone who doesn't check every one of the boxes on your financial "perfect match" checklist. If that's the case, open the lines of communication to discuss each other's values and what you need to work on financially as a couple. Having the uncomfortable conversations now can help you avoid irreconcilable money conflicts once you're married.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

RELATED: Check out 20 unusual ways to make quick money:

20 unusual ways to make quick money
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20 unusual ways to make quick money

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

Photo via Getty

Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

Photo via AOL

Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

Photo via Getty

Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

Photo via Getty

Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

Photo via Getty

Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

Photo via Getty

Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

Photo via Getty

Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

Photo via Getty

Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like, and see the cash pile up.

Photo via Getty

Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

Photo via Getty

Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

Photo via Getty

You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

Photo via Getty

Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

Photo via Getty

Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

Photo via Getty

Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

Photo via Getty

Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

Photo via Getty

Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

Photo via Getty

Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

Photo via Getty


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