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Getting married? Tackle these 5 money convos first

What we'll cover

  • The importance of open conversations on money

  • How to bring up finances with your partner

  • Helpful financial conversation starters 

Before you say I do, you and your future spouse should discuss your approaches to spending , investing, debt and budgeting . The bliss of married life also has its fill of challenges, and money often rises to the top. Here’s how to kick off these important conversations now, so you can start planning for a financially healthy marriage. 

Find the right time, right place

Money is an important topic, but it’s not always an easy one. However, if you’re discussing your long-term plans together, it’s time to open up about finances. 

These conversations can become especially necessary when you’re planning to move in together , buy a home or plan your wedding . When you’re ready to bring up the subject of finances, start with these tips:

  • Keep it low-key. Stay calm and approach your partner at a low-stress time.

  • Put everything on the table. Don’t leave out the messier details — they’re an important part of your financial picture.

  • Be candid. Avoid judgment to help set the tone and allow each of you to share openly.

  • Be candid. Talk about family and how parents, siblings, and kids play into your financial picture. List out non-negotiables or expectations for the future that could have financial ramifications.

  • Talk regularly. Consistent money talks can help you stay on the same page in good times and in bad .

Now that you have a good idea of how and when to have the conversation, the next step is getting the discussion started. Try these conversation topics to help set both of you up for financial and wedded bliss.

Start the conversation early in your relationship

Talking about your finances early on with your partner is a great way to normalize these conversations and start off on the right foot. But don’t get discouraged if you’ve avoided the topic for a while. Even if you’ve been together for years, it’s never too late to start talking openly about money.

Be open about your past money experiences

Money is an emotional topic, and many of us have complicated histories with finances. Maybe you made mistakes with your money in the past, or your family had unique financial challenges. These experiences may be difficult enough to process on your own, and even harder to share with others. But opening up about your personal money stories can help build trust — and create an opportunity for your partner to share, too. 

Discuss shared financial goals

Get focused on the plans you have for your money (build a safety net , add to savings or start investing ) and how you plan to achieve these goals. Understanding your financial priorities can help you and your future spouse ease into other important money talks. It can also help you decide when to approach finances together and when it makes more sense to keep your money separate.

Even if you’ve been together for years, it’s never too late to start talking openly about money.

Be honest and transparent about debt

Money owed by either partner can impact future purchases you may want to make together, like a home or a car. Now is the time to lay it all on the table and talk about navigating your debt together . Beyond debt, don’t forget to talk through any other financial obligations or credit history that could affect loans you might apply for together down the line. Assessing how these debts might affect you and your partner’s credit scores will help you approach future loans or approvals you approach jointly.

Decide whether you should share a bank account

To combine or not to combine, that is the question. Separate accounts allow you more financial freedom with your own money, while joint accounts give both partners access to funds. But joint accounts can cause issues if you aren’t communicating your spending habits with your partner. There’s no right or wrong way to approach this question — the important thing is that you’re both on the same page

Share future goals about retirement

Your golden years may seem far off, but the sooner you and your partner establish your retirement goals, the better chance you have of achieving them. Your ideal retirement age, your savings targets and how much you’ve saved so far could be very different. Understanding how you want to approach retirement together can help you work as a team to achieve it.

In good times and bad

When you’re preparing to pledge your love, make sure you’re also planning for the life you’ll build. Having these money talks before you make it official can help set you up for the financial successes and challenges ahead — and how you’ll face them together.

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