Saving

3 money talks to have before you get married

Sam Becker@smbecker
Twenty/20

Almost all couples argue about money at some point, no matter their income level, net worth, or debt loads. And arguments around finances are one of the top predictors of divorce, according to researchers at Kansas State University, who also found that fights about money tend to be particularly intense, and take a while to get over.

So, experts say, start having the tough financial talks with your significant other as soon as you can — ideally before you even tie the knot.

Stefanie O'Connell is a millennial personal finance expert who has built a career advising young couples on navigating their finances, including during their engagements. She says couples can and should address finances early and often so that you can make sure you share the same values — and make compatible financial choices.

"I'm an advocate of full financial disclosure before you even move in with someone, let alone sign a legal agreement," says O'Connell. She recommends "sharing your full debt, your savings account balances, your checking account balances, where you are with your investments, and what your goals are for the future."

With that in mind, here are here are three money conversations to have before you even think about saying "I do."

VIDEO4:5104:51
4 financial questions to ask before getting married

1. What do you owe?

As uncomfortable as it may be, it's important to discuss issues related to debt and credit with your significant other.

You owe it to your partner to be forthcoming if you're deep in debt, O'Connell says, as that can affect their lives and finances going forward, too. And if you have a credit score that needs work, it may affect your ability as a couple to get loans for a car or home, or what apartment you're able to move into.

Credit card debt is different than medical debt, for example, she says, so remember that it's important that you share not just numbers but the story behind what's owed.

I'm a big fan of money dates once a month.
Stefanie O'Connell
millennial personal finance expert

2. What are your financial values?

What are your beliefs or guiding principles around money? These financial values, O'Connell says, determine what it is that you're working towards, and how your finances align with those goals. "The only way you're making sure you do that is by having a regular, honest, and open dialogue about your finances," she says.

Make those dialogues part of your routine: "I'm a big fan of money dates once a month or once a quarter," she says. O'Connell recommends grabbing a bottle of wine, pulling up some spreadsheets, and looking at your financial behavior to see where you're aligned with your goals.

3. What are your long-term goals?

Growing old together could mean planning to buy cars together, or a home, or paying college tuition for kids. It also usually means getting yourselves ready for retirement. Talk about your ideas for the future at the outset to make sure you both agree about your plan — and your strategy.

"It's about what you're working towards, and then the finances are what steps you need to take to support those goals," says O'Connell.

Take the time to get the tough money talks out of the way so that you and your partner can focus on your life together and not worry about any financial surprises that may be waiting for you.

More from Grow:

Get the Grow Newsletter Every Week
Weekly money news and advice to grow your wealth, delivered straight to your inbox.
Weekly money news and advice to grow your wealth, delivered straight to your inbox.
 

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns

GET STARTED

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2019 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBC Universal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.