Valley First

Managing Money After Marriage

Financial tips to keep newlyweds out of matrimonial debt

As wedding season approaches, many couples will be fretting over the budget for their big-day. However, paying for their party is only the beginning of a long financial future together.

Weddings are expensive and bills may remain long after the honeymoon is over. And, while love can be blind, it pays not to overlook your partner’s financial situation before tying the knot, says Valley First’s Glenmore branch manager Dan Turner.

“One of the most common challenges newlyweds face is how to merge their finances,” says Turner. “It is also often said money is the number one source of friction in any relationship.

“While some people choose to keep their money separate and pay for joint costs equally, the majority of couples will, at some stage, merge their finances. Even though it sounds unromantic, it is important to understand what assets and debt your partner may have.”

With many people getting married later in life, they also have more time to accumulate assets. The flipside is they also have more time to accumulate debt.

“In the past, people got married younger and, to a certain extent, had much less complicated financial backgrounds,” says Turner. “With people marrying in their 30’s and 40’s they can bring more fiscal history into a marriage including mortgages, credit card and student loan debt as well as RRSPs and other investments.”

Given the increased complexity of our financial lives, Turner believes having those tough conversations about money is a must for all couples. From hidden debt to vastly different attitudes to spending and saving, getting it all out in the open helps couples find common ground.

“Some people have difficulty talking about their personal finances,” says Turner. “However, couples should talk openly about their finances before they exchange vows and get a potentially nasty financial surprise. Like anything in a relationship, talking openly about the situation helps us achieve compromise and identify the right financial solutions.”


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