We bet even the longest of relationships don’t have the answers to #3.
So, you’re planning to marry this person you’ve been dating for quite some time. Congratulations! But before ROM-ing, have you had the money talk with your significant other?
According to a survey done by blackbox.com.sg, financial incompatibility is the second top reason why more couples are getting divorced.
We know, nothing kills romance like talking about money. But when you want to take your relationship to the next step, financial compatibility can make or break your future together.
Don’t know how to discuss or what questions to ask? Here are 10 money questions you should be asking your partner before getting married.
How to start the conversation?
Obviously, don’t do it after a fight. Pick the right time when everyone’s chill and perhaps discuss it over some coffee. Make sure both parties are relaxed and happy before jumping into the topic.
10 questions to ask your partner about money before getting married
#1 What is your definition of financial success?
Some people want riches, while others are content to have a roof over their heads and not worry about the next meal. Figure out what you and your partner define as financial success, and work towards it together.
#2 Is anyone bringing debt into the marriage, and if so, how much?
This is a must to know. You don’t want to be married and realise that they’re in a significant pile of debt. But don’t get us wrong, there are good debts and bad debts — good debts are ones such as housing loans and business loans, and bad debts are like credit card debts.
If either you or your partner owes quite a lot and you are having difficulty with monthly payments, consider a debt consolidation loan.
A Debt Consolidation Plan (DCP) is a debt management tool that allows you to combine all existing credit card debts and personal loans into a single loan with a lower interest rate. The loan is then repaid in automatic monthly payments, much like a personal instalment loan, for a period of up to 10 years.
#3 How far ahead do you like to plan financially?
Some like to plan for retirement when they’re in their 20s and 30s, while others prefer to plan only for the next couple of years. When you ask this question, you’ll be aware of your partner’s financial planning habits and how it’ll affect you as a couple in the long run.
#4 Who’s paying for which bills?
Electric bills, water bills, handphone bills, home insurance and more. Someone’s gotta pay for all that. Are you guys going to split the bills equally? Or is someone taking over certain bills?
Married couples often have a joint bank account to pay for household expenses. Couples may either choose to contribute a certain percentage of their salary each month, or do a 50-50 split.
The benefit of having a joint account is that you both will be able to have immediate access to pay the bills and other shared expenses such as groceries. However, joint accounts are not a sure-fire way to manage your shared expenses — what works for one couple may not work for your relationship, and you and your partner may have different ideas on how money should be spent and/or saved.
#5 Do we want kids (or pets)?
Raising children and/or pets is not cheap — just ask your parents and pet owners.
If having a kid and/or pet with your significant other is something you’d want, you definitely need to let them know in case they aren’t fond of that responsibility.
Trust us, we’ve heard of many couples getting into conflict because one wants kids/pets, while the other doesn’t. It’s up to you to discuss it and work out how you can afford growing your family.
#6 Where are we planning to stay?
HDB (BTO? Resale?) or a condo (Freehold? 99-year lease?) or a GCB next to Secret Lab’s CEO?
Follow up questions to ask:
- Your own place? Or will your in-laws be moving in?
- When are you planning to buy the property (HDB BTOs notoriously take a long time), and what’s your budget?
#7 How should we manage our finances?
Would you like to contribute to a joint bank account? Or simply split your bills both ways? Are we going to share a credit card and chalk up miles together for that sweet business class flight? What about investments? Are you going to handle them yourselves (using fantastic brokerages such as Tiger Brokers and moomoo) or are you just going to hire a financial advisor and leave it up to them?
#8 Anyone you need to support financially?
This is especially important if your partner is a single child and has to give allowance to their parents. Either that, or you could look into ways to support your parents without giving them money.
#9 What is your net worth?
This requires everything to be laid bare on the table — CPF accounts, balances of your savings accounts and all the investment assets each person has. It can be a touchy topic, but if this is the person you’re going to marry, you’ll need transparency.
#10 How much do you spend and save a month?
If your partner saves at least 20% of their monthly income, you know that they at least have some control over their expenses. However, if your partner spends as they earn, it might be a red flag. Ask them for the reason for their high expenditure, and look for ways to bring it down as you work towards your future.
BONUS QUESTION: What’s one money habit that you admire about me?
We love this question because it’ll end the conversation on a good note. Telling each other what you like about their financial habits might just make you realise why you even love them in the first place.
You can say things like, “I love how good you are at bargain hunting” or “I admire you for planning cheap dates in Singapore for under S$30”.
Ask these questions now to avoid conflict in the future
No matter which relationship, disagreements are bound to happen. Asking these financial questions before settling down will ensure fewer shocks next time, and enables you to be more prepared when it comes to making financial decisions after marriage.
If you fail to discuss such issues prior to marriage, the opportunity for financial infidelity may increase — this means that you or your partner may hide spending habits from each other to avoid arguments in the future.
Read these next:
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