Finances are only one aspect of a marriage, but they carry considerable weight in the development of a healthy, happy relationship now and in the future. Of all the conversations a soon-to-be married or recently wedded couple should have, a money talk is near the top of the list.
“In this day and age, it’s important to have conversations about money early on in order to prevent issues that might cause the couple to have marital stress down the road,” says Chitra Patel, a Premier Banker at SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc.
While finances may not be the most exciting topic as you plan your life together, addressing money and debt concerns early might change the course of your marriage.
“The No. 1 reason for divorce is money,” Patel says. “Often people don’t ask about the other party’s finances before they get married, and that creates problems.”
A common scenario and point of contention in these financial conversations is debt, or the money owed to creditors, particularly if one party has debt and the other is debt-free.
Common sources of debt originate from business-related expenses, real estate investments, credit cards, and personal or student loans. Patel says marrying into debt is also a common issue in second marriages, when previously married partners have to pay alimony or child support related to their prior relationship.
Whatever the source of debt, disclosure is the first step toward dealing with it as a couple. The following five steps can help couples start the conversation and address debt together:
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