Discuss Financial Compatibility
Hopefully you have already discussed this with each other, and it should be covered in your pre-marital counseling. However, it deserves special recognition here because money is one of the most common issues that married couples argue over. Different expectations occur because you are both coming from two different backgrounds, incomes, and unique money personalities.
You both have backgrounds that in some way or another affect your way of thinking about money. One of you could be a big spender while the other is a big saver. This difference can create conflict in the future. Talk about meeting each other in the middle on how you both can have fun with money while saving for retirement, kids, and all of life's surprises.
Current Financial Situation
Have an honest discussion about how much you each make in a month or a year.
- Discuss how many credit cards you own and whether they are paid off or carry a balance.
- Discuss how much in other debt (cars, mortgage, student loans, etc.) each partner will be bringing into the marriage.
- Discuss how much savings you each have and come to a consensus for how much you will try to save before you get married. After all, it wouldn’t be fair for one of you to save almost everything you earn from now until the wedding while the other goes on a spending spree! You're engaged now, so your money isn't just yours anymore!
Calculate Monthly Expenses
You both should have an understanding of how much you can both spend on a month to month basis. Take into account things like car payments, gym memberships, spa visits, medical expenses and other things. Each of you is used to certain expenses like getting haircuts, nails, etc. It is better if you both are aware of these expenses before you get married.