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You're about to get married. Congratulations! Marriage is one of the biggest commitments a person can make to someone else, and there's tremendous excitement in a relationship that seems perfect. However, one area that couples often don't consider enough when they're entering into a permanent relationship is their soon-to-be mutual finances. That's unfortunate, as money is one of the main reasons couples fight. As you prepare to take your relationship to a new level, here are some financial matters you should consider first. They can help you determine whether you're about to marry a financial vampire.
Without being overly inquisitive, it may be difficult to tell whether your partner has bad credit. Perhaps he or she was turned down for a car loan or had an application for store credit denied since your relationship first began. That might be a good indication of financial troubles. Regardless of how you determine it, bad credit could be a sign of impending marital problems down the line. If you enter into a marriage with someone who has credit problems, it could be difficult to make major life purchases later on, such as buying a home or a new car. It could also be an indication that your marriage will be fraught with financial issues that could lead to tension, arguments, and other problems.
No Savings to Speak Of
If your significant other has little to no savings, that's a cause for concern. Depending on how old the person is, a lack of savings may indicate that he or she has no budget or isn't preparing properly for future life events. A lack of savings may also leave the person (and you, once you get married) unprepared for an emergency, such as a major home repair or some other unexpected expense. In any case, if you notice your intended spouse doesn't have any savings on hand, then you should discuss how you intend to tackle money management matters as a couple.
Poor Debt Management Skills
Another sign that your relationship may be running into financial headwinds is if your partner manages debt poorly. An over-reliance on credit cards or very high balances is a warning sign, as is a monthly struggle to make card payments. If your soon-to-be spouse has no clue how much debt he or she even has, then you might want to investigate that and create a plan upfront. A couple that's on the same page financially from the start has the best chance of achieving future goals.
Bills Are Paid Late or Not at All
Perhaps you've observed a laissez-faire attitude in your partner when it comes to paying bills. Maybe you've seen final notice letters coming in the mail relating to overdue bills. If you notice a tendency in your partner to pay bills late, it could be an indicator of serious financial problems. Failure to pay bills on time can have a serious negative impact on a credit rating. Additionally, late payments lead to penalties, suspensions, or even cancellations of important services that you'll need as a married couple. In any case, if you notice bills stacking up, then it's cause for concern.
Out of Money by the End of the Month
Determine if your partner is living paycheck to paycheck and seemingly out of money by the last week of each month. While everyone faces financial challenges at different points in their lives, consistently running low on funds prior to payday can be a sign of serious financial problems. Living paycheck to paycheck can indicate a person is failing to budget properly or is otherwise irresponsible when it comes to managing finances. A clear warning sign is if the month begins with lavish expenditures, but ends with a whimper and wondering how to make ends meet. Therefore, if you notice your partner is staying home at the end of the month and eating a steady diet of ramen noodles while waiting for payday, it definitely should be a cause for concern.
One of the clearest signs that financial issues could become a serious problem in your relationship is if your partner is either unable or unwilling to talk to you about anything related to money. After all, once you get married, you'll have to have some sort of plan for managing your finances. The two of you will have to set a household budget, determine how to pay for things, and save for future life events. If you're met with a blank stare or hostility whenever you attempt to discuss money matters with your future spouse, it could mean that trouble is on the horizon.
Love Is Important, but Don't Forget About Money
Marriage is a major commitment, and love and compatibility are critical components of any good relationship. However, as you prepare to spend the rest of your life with someone, don't forget to think about money, too. If you enter into a long-term relationship with someone who doesn't manage money well, you could end up dealing with big problems down the road. If you see one or more of the signs of financial pitfalls noted here, make sure you have a discussion with your partner about your mutual finances before you tie the knot.