To set a good financial foundation for your future, here are five things you should do before you get married:
Know Thyself: Before you share the details of your bank accounts with your lover, be sure you know them yourself. If you have debts, know the total amount you owe, and what interest rates you pay on it. Know where your assets are and what they're worth. Your partner sould love you regardless of your net worth, but you'll both need to grapple with that number eventually. Better to be up front.
Know your Partner When you're both in a calm, happy place, sit down together and share your financial information. Try to be open and non-judgmental about your partner's financial history and your own. There's no need to feel guilty for being in debt or having a spotty credit history, but you do need to be honest. It might help if both of you can think of financial issues as just another challenge of a life together.
Know your Habits: Even if you don't routinely track your spending, consider doing so together or separately for 3 months before you tie the knot. You'll get good information about your spending habits, and if you can share the information you'll both have a better idea of what you're in for and what challenges might lie ahead.
Know what You Want: The path to wealth is paved with goals. You need to have some. Your marriage will be better if those goals are ones you and your partner create and pursue together.
Know How to get There: Even a single evening spent establishing financial goals can do you tremendous good as a couple. It is better to have a clear roadmap of how to achieve those goals. How much do you need to save to pay for that boat? How many years until one of you leaves the workforce to become a stay-at-home parent?
Of course, not all of life's big events arrive through careful planning. But laying out a path lets you live and spend with intention from your first days together. It also gives you more flexibility to handle emergencies and surprises as they come up. Try these financial calculators to help achieve your goals.