Engaged? The 5 money to do's before you say 'I do'
Recently engaged? Did you know that December is the most popular month to get engaged? According to a study from Facebook compiling data from over 2.5 Million users Dec 24th is the most popular day to get engaged. 30% of all engagements happen between the month of November and December. After the excitement and celebration of getting engaged clears there are a couple of money talks that you must have before you say "I Do".
1. Have the money talk. I'm hoping you have had the talk already but if not have it before you make another move. You need to crack open the seal right this moment to talk about several key things. How much you make, how much you own and how much you owe. If you have children from a previous relationship you need to have open discussions. You need to discuss child support, if any, that you have to pay or are paid. Now would be a good time to set up how you are going to work out your family budget. Are you going to combine all your money, or divide the expenses? Either way you work it out between the 2 of you make sure it actual works for the 2 of you. Also be open to changing things in the future as your life changes.
2. Talk about life goals. Want to retire earlier, take a year sabbatical and travel to Asia or start a small business? You need to talk about your life goals now. Many of your life goals are going to cost you, either in time, money or both so preparing for that is so important. You can't just decide that you want to retire early and go forward even if your partner is not on board. It's not going to work out and it's going to cause stress, chaos and resentment on both ends. Successful relationships are successful because of strong communication. Talking about things in the beginning can help work through some of the kinks you might uncover with your life goals clashing. Sticking your head in the sand is not going to make it any better
3. Talk about kids/house/future big expenses. Getting engaged and sharing a life come with some big expenses. Going back to school and changing careers is happening more and more in the ever changing job market. Talking about what your hopes and your timelines are and how you are going to plan for the hit to your budget. Getting on the same page about this now is going to reduce a lot of stress because you have pre-planned what you want to do.
4. Talk about wedding budgets. Enjoy your wedding and celebrate with those you love. No guilt should come along with celebrating your day and your new lives. However remember this is just a party and the important part is the actual marriage after that. So first rule is no debt at all. Understand what you want to do, take stock of what your family might want you to do and figure out a budget to pull it all together. Looking back on our wedding I know there were places that we could have spent less. Quite frankly we should have. I also think about how much we could have saved if we eloped and put all the money we spent on our wedding onto our house. Also quick reminder about the first rule, no debt. You wouldn't take on debt to throw a birthday party so don't take on debt to throw a wedding which is just a party at the end of the day.
5. Keep talking. This is the most important one. You can do all of the above and if you don't keep the channels of communication open you will just hit a wall. Money is still the #1 reason why marriages fail. Talking with your partner as your life changes is important because your life is going to change. You might think that it won't but I promise you that it will. By talking and keeping an open flow of communication you are able to better handle the curveballs.
Keep it all in mind that planning a wedding is just planning a party. The most important part is to take care of each other and support each other as your lives progress.
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