(This post is the second post of the series, “Marriage: The Most Important Investment of Your Life“)
Use a mutually agreed upon goal as the starting point.
A great example would be purchasing your first home together. When you discuss where you want to live and the type of home you need to buy, inevitably, you will assess the financial viability of making the purchase. If you want to buy a home in five years, you need to have an idea of what your income will be at that time and how much you need to save for the down payment.
Acknowledge that any plan you make will be modified in a few years
You should think of a financial plan as a compass – not a map. As you begin to view it as a tangible document that will evolve over time, you remove some of the pressure of discussing finances. Life happens. Cars break down. Employers cut staff. Stock options offer huge paydays. And distant relatives bequeath large sums. When such events suddenly pull you in an unexpected direction, the financial plan serves as the guide to set you back on course.
Push without being pushy
Money can often be a sensitive subject so tread carefully. Unresolved issues from childhood may influence your fiancé’s relationship with money. Feelings of inadequacy could also be lingering beneath the surface. If you are met with resistance at every attempt to discuss finances, you may have touched on an area of vulnerability. Remember you will spend the rest of your life with this person. With time, he/she will share more information with you; be patient.
When you get married, not only will your souls unite as one but your student loan debt and bad spending habits will as well. Without a doubt, communication is the key to a successful marriage. It is also the key to having your financial journey be one of harmony and comfort, not discord and tension. You have conducted an extensive screening process and countless hours of thorough research in selecting your future spouse. Ensure your sweat, blood and tears were not in vain; keep the money talk open, honest and frequent. The most important investment of your life deserves nothing less.
About the Blogger
Keith has been married for 3 years and is a proud father of one. He is pursuing his MBA degree at Chapel Hill and will graduate in 2011 with a vision to help people reach their financial goals. A native of Washington, D.C., Keith is a CFA charterholder and co-founder of IT’S TIME, an organization dedicated to help youth excel academically, socially and professionally.