Getting Married: How to Share the Financial Responsibility

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Getting married is exciting and scary at the same time. You know all about the exciting parts, and have probably embraced these to the fullest. Choosing a wedding venue, picking out a dress, and planning your honeymoon represent the very best things about wedding planning. Yet, are you risking your future by not exploring the scary stuff?

How Much do You Know About Your Fiancée’s Finances?

A recent study conducted by Galaxy Research, covered here by News Corp Australia, discovered that 52% of Australians had lied about debts or hidden spending from those close to them. While the study did not disclose specifically what proportion of these people had lied about debts or hidden spending from their partner, one industry expert in in the debt consolidation sector stated that “It’s not uncommon for people to come to us and say they are in debt but their partner has never found out about it.”

In addition, consumer finance expert Lisa Montgomery added, “I think it’s natural for many of us in relationships not to talk to anybody about our financial situation.

“We don’t our tell our best girlfriends, or partners, it’s one of our closely guarded secrets to what we owe on our credit cards and it’s often a force of embarrassment for some people — it’s so very personal.

“Credit is so easy to get and when it’s easy to get it’s easy to spend it.”

This trend is not exclusive to Australia. A study conducted earlier in 2016 by Experian in the United States and reported by the Daily Mail, specifically looking at engaged or recently married couples, discovered that:

Though the figures indicate many couples are having important financial conversations prior to getting engaged or walking down the aisle, at NOW FINANCE we believe all couples should be having these discussions well before marriage is even discussed.

The Trouble with Financial Talk

Financial talk isn’t always easy to bring up. Along with being asked about your previous relationships and other things related to your past, financial talk is up there as one of the things many of us feel is better left alone.

Yet, given how society has changed in recent years – most couples today, for example, will live together and have made joint financial decisions and purchases, perhaps even buying a house, prior to getting married – a financial discussion that considers your long term future together is definitely something that should happen sooner rather than later.

What are the Potential Consequences of Having This Discussion?

This really depends on your and your fiancée. If you haven’t discussed if either of you have any outstanding debt, then it’s certainly a conversation you need to have. It is likely you will have already discussed financial and lifestyle aspirations and goals, and know enough about each other’s attitudes towards money if you’re close enough to have gotten engaged in the first place.

There is a chance that many couples don’t have the financial discussions they should do because they are scared of what the consequences might be, both in terms of discovering more about their fiancée’s financial situation as well as having to disclose their own. What could happen?

Point three is the consequence most will fear, but is it better to have these discussions now and discover the reality of the situation, or get a nasty shock down the line when you’re applying for a mortgage or you see a bank statement with some surprising outgoings included?

How to Have the Financial Discussion

You’ll be pleased to know you don’t need to sit your partner down and deliver the dreaded “We need to have a talk” speech.

The best way to bring discussions around debt into the conversation is usually to ask your fiancée for their advice, or to mention something you’ve read. You might not even have a loan or any significant debt yourself, but you can simply say something like “I have this credit card balance (or other debt) that I’d love to pay off quickly, what do you think I should do,” and start a conversation from there. Alternatively, find an article you like on personal finances or budgeting – there’s plenty on the NOW FINANCE blog that you might like – and mention to your fiancée that you read this earlier, what do they think about it?

Once the conversation does evolve onto your own personal circumstances, remember not to sound like you’re pontificating. Share your willingness to plan every aspect of your future together, of which your financial circumstances are a crucial aspect, and that you want to ensure you have a plan that you are both happy with and committed to.

Moving Forwards Together

Even if you and your fiancée have debt levels that you are comfortable with, you may still have options for being able to get debt free quicker. At NOW FINANCE we provide debt consolidation loans that can help reduce the interest you are paying and give you a ‘final date’ when you’ll become debt free; these are particularly useful if you have a credit card and are struggling to clear the balance because the interest keeps mounting up.

We do not accept joint applications, so if either or both of you wanted to consolidate your debts you would need to apply as individuals for separate loans. If you decide a debt consolidation loan can help you, then ensure you discuss how this builds into your joint financial plan as you work towards a brighter financial future for yourselves as a couple. With NOW FINANCE you can get your interest rate before applying for a loan, which in turn will allow you to calculate your repayments and finalise your personal budget.

If debt is not an issue in your relationship, but you are focused on the excitement of planning your wedding and honeymoon, we may also be able to help you get the wedding you want without having to spend the next few years saving. Find out more about our wedding loans and honeymoon loans and make your big day everything you dreamed of.

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