As a newly married couple, we sat down on our apartment couch and started to create a budget on EveryDollar. We had tough conversations around money, financial goals, and what our new life would look like.
We had this same conversation several times throughout our engagement, all centered around this question: are we financially ready for marriage?
We know we love each other. We’ve read all the books. Taken all the assessments. Gone through premarital counseling. But is getting married right now a smart financial decision for us? Are we setting ourselves up for success later on? Should we wait a few more months?
If you’re anything like us, maybe you’ve wrestled with those same questions during engagement.
Here’s the tough reality… financial problems don’t go away in marriage. In fact, they multiply. If you don’t address these problems during engagement, you’re going to have a hard time once you’re married.
While every marriage and financial situation is different, here are six signs you might be financially ready for marriage:
One or both of you has a stable job
We talk with lots of college students who want to get married while they’re still in school. Living with another person means you have twice the expenses. How do you expect to pay for those expenses without a job? While you don’t need to be making massive amounts of money, one or both of you should have a job that can financially support your marriage.
You have a plan to minimize (or get rid of) debt
Without a clear plan to minimize or get rid of debts, you’re starting your marriage with a source of tension and stress. One of the best gifts you can give your future spouse is minimal debt. While you may not be able to get rid of all debt (like a student loan) before you get married, make a plan to minimize it as much as possible.
You’ve shown discipline in saving for your future
Do you control your paycheck or does your paycheck control you? You may not be able to save up tons of money, but if you can show discipline in trying to save for your future, you’re on the right track.
You’re committed to getting on a budget
Budget = freedom. Seriously? Yep. When you get on a budget, you’re able to take control of where your money goes and how it’s spent. You have the freedom to spend on things you want instead of looking around at the end of the month wondering where your money went.
You’re willing and able to combine your money
One marriage means one life and one bank account. If you’re not ready to combine your bank account and your finances, you may not be ready to be married. In fact, studies show that couples with separate bank accounts are more likely to get a divorce than those that share their money.
You’ve talked with your partner about your financial situation
Your future spouse has a right to know about your financial past. They need to know how much debt you have (or have had in the past), how much is in your bank account, how many credit cards you have, etc. These are tough, and awkward, conversations, but they’re completely necessary for a financially-strong marriage.
Feeling confident about all of these things? You might be financially ready for marriage!