Money can be a taboo subject - especially when it comes to wedding planning and mapping out your future together. However, having realistic financial conversations with your partner (and yourself!) is a vital part of the process. Nobody wants to start their married life with bad finances - kind of takes away the fun of the honeymoon phrase, right?
Sharita Humphrey is an award-winning Certified Financial Education Instructor. She is a paid spokesperson for Self Financial, a fintech company on a mission to make building credit and savings accessible for anyone to achieve their dreams. She was formerly homeless and is now a successful, award-winning financial educator, who credits Self Financial as the first step on her path to financial wellness.
Sharita shares advice on a variety of topics surrounding money issues with your partner.
Why is it important to have money conversations with your partner?
It's very important to have money conversations with your partner because most marriages end in divorce due to finances. You and your partner having money conversations frequently will allow you to learn your partner's money mindset, behaviors, and relationship with money. Money conversations also allow you and your partner to create financial plans now and for the future.
How do finances impact both partners in a marriage?
Finances impact both partners in marriage because one partner may be a saver and the other is a mindless spender. This financial challenge can cause friction and frustration with either partner and derail your financial goals and outcomes.
Why is credit important in a marriage? What are your recommendations for building credit?
Having positive credit in marriage helps couples to purchase their first or dream home, a new car, or maybe start a business. Credit is a key factor in any of these situations and if you're going to apply for credit, a loan, or any other financial product, maintaining positive credit profiles and scores is key.
How do you recommend approaching conversations about sensitive money topics with your partner?
Money conversations are still taboo at times but shouldn't be, especially in a marriage. Approaching sensitive money topics should be well thought out and come from a place of love and concern about both of your financial futures. If you're not a person who feels comfortable having these sensitive conversations, a counselor, coach, or therapist is recommended to offer unbiased financial advice or suggestions.
What are some best practices for establishing a joint budget?
Joint budgeting in a marriage is a personal decision. There's no one size fits all joint budgeting methodology. However, there are best practices that you can do together to make the process more efficient. Being open with one another about your goals and expectations is a budgeting conversation that you certainly want to have. When joint budgeting you also want to decide what budget tool, application, or platform works best for both of you.
When both partners can agree to a budgeting style, the next best practice is to talk about if you will both manage the budget or will it be just one of you. Even if you decide one partner may handle the budget, it's highly recommended that you agree to a time each week or month that you will meet for budget dates. Budget dates make joint budgeting more exciting, less tense, and allow you to spend time together.
What are your top 3 tips for changing your money mindset in a relationship and creating new habits together?
The three top tips to changing your money mindset in a relationship and creating new habits together are:
- Each partner must be willing to identify and resolve any negative money habits, beliefs, behaviors, or past financial traumas.
- You must commit to talking to one another about finances consistently very early because you want to ensure that you both are clear on each other's goals, lifestyle, and future financial plans.
- You also want to remember not to be too judgmental because we all make mistakes even financial ones. You want to be aware and address any red flags to ensure that they don't have any negative impact on your relationship now or in the future.
What if your partner has a poor credit score and yours is good (or vice versa)? What are the implications for you as a married couple (legal and otherwise)?
If your or your partner has poor credit scores then you must start the process of rebuilding your credit. Self is a great way to start your journey of rebuilding your credit while saving. Having poor credit as a married couple can hinder you from purchasing a home, refinancing for a lower interest rate, or even purchasing a new car. Having poor credit can have an even more detrimental impact on securing a dream job which can help to increase your family's income.
How do you ask your partner what their credit score is before you get married?
Asking your partner about their credit score before getting married is very important. A great way to ask your partner about their credit scores before marriage is to ask them what are their financial goals once you're married and if credit is a major factor ask them when was the last time that they looked at their credit reports and scores. Another great option is to ask during your pre-marital counseling sessions where finances are certainly discussed.
What are tips for getting your relationship credit-ready prior to getting married?
Tips that you can use to prepare your relationship to be credit-ready before marriage is to be committed to opening up about your credit and any debts. If there are credit challenges with either partner before marriage, be willing to educate themselves on the importance of credit, how to use and manage it. Signing up for a Self credit builder loan is a great way to get credit education, rebuild your credit, and start your marriage with money saved.