The rush of excitement after a proposal can often leave many elated and eager to spend on that lavish dream wedding. But before you put all your hard earned money into a day of celebration, it might be a good idea to zoom out and have “the talk” with your partner.
By this we mean, openly chatting about money, life goals, the new home, car and other financial decisions. As amazing as your partner may be, it’s important to keep an eye out for red flags and address them now before you exchange your vows.
Here are some red flags to look out for:
Refusing to talk about money…ever
It’s one thing to dread financial discussions but it’s a whole other thing if the person refuses to share anything about their finances. If you’re going to share your life with someone, it’s important that you both know what you’re bringing to the table and how you can save for the future you want to build together.
If your partner refuses to have these conversations with you, try explaining how important it is to communicate and create a safe space where they can open up, especially if they are ashamed of their income or savings. If they’re resistant for a long period of time then you may want to take a step back and try other approaches. Be sure to settle this before you start to build a future together.
Inability to find a middle-ground
After talking about money so openly, you will find some differences in terms of priority when it comes to spending. This is natural, especially when you’ve both had different lifestyles and independence in managing your finances. However, if you’re going to get married, you need to find a compromise that you can both agree on.
Having an agreement on how much of your salaries go into essentials like the mortgage is vital in the early stages of marriages. Couples who share the same financial values will find themselves happier and more appreciative of each other’s gestures and gifts.
Be sure to find the middle-ground before you get married and are slapped with major life decisions and bills from every corner.
Unwillingness to manage and reduce debt
We live in a world of consumerism and credit. Debt is something that many fall prey to these days. With interest rates as high as 24% per annum on overdue credit card spending, your unpaid credit card bill would double in three years.
The minimum amount required to be paid is just the interest incurred, paying that sum each month doesn’t help to reduce the size of the debt itself.
It’s okay to marry someone in debt but you want to make sure that they are willing to make adjustments to pay off their debt. You should be aware of the potential problems like getting rejected for mortgage loans for your home purchases.
Many partners also end up having to help the other in their debt repayments after it’s snowballed into a much bigger amount. Talking about these issues early helps to ensure that you can attempt to solve the problems before it snowballs to an amount you both can’t afford. Helping your partner to divert money into growing wealth instead of interests that feed the banks is crucial before marriage.
Your partner is secretive about where the money is going
Some secrets are hard to hide when your lives are moving towards a marriage. After having a chat about finances, you may find some gaps in the money they make, the amount of savings they claimed to have and their spending habits.
Unless your partner is running a business with irregular income, this discrepancy and secrecy might be a red flag. They might be hiding their debt, have spending problems, or in some cases – dating someone else at the same time (I’ve seen this happen to someone before!). If your partner is being exceptionally secretive, be sure to address this red flag before you progress any further.
No savings or investments
If your partner is always enjoying nice vacations and meals, splurging on fancy cars and jewellery, you may want to make sure they’re planning for the long term too. It’s important to agree on whether such a lifestyle is sustainable.
If your partner has no savings or investments, this will affect your future together, especially if either of you lose your job or if a health emergency occurs. So be sure to look out for such habits and make sure you’re both saving, investing and planning financially for the future.
Addressing these red flags now is a great way to look out for your relationship and future. The key is to start the conversation even before you start planning for the wedding.
The more transparency there is, the less misunderstandings and deep set financial issues there will be in the marriage. Have these talks before you say “I do”!