Love Is Not All You Need: Money Talk Before Marriage Talk

The other day I saw a story posted on CTV‘s website about how most married Canadians regret not talking about money earlier. My first reaction was “Well, duh”, but then I realized that most people probably aren’t like me and my HB who have always had an open dialogue about our finances.

I know when you’re in love the last thing on your mind is talking about your financial goals, but I am a firm believer that love is not all you need to make a relationship or marriage work.

The article highlighted that 98% of married couples said that they thought it was important to be on the same page as their spouse regarding financial goals, but how many of those people found out their spouse’s financial goals after they were married? What if they had planned to save up and invest vigorously in order to retire early whilst their partner planned to spend all their money freely and live pay cheque to pay cheque?

I think conversations like that are the ones that lead to big arguments and possibly even divorce, which is why the sooner you communicate the better!

I understand that compromise is part and parcel when it comes to marriage, but I think that before you consider popping the question to your lady or lass, you really should have that conversation about your future goals and even how you perceive money.

When I think about money I see a number of opportunities to better my life if I’m responsible with it. For the most part my HB agrees with this thought process, but he’s also been known to say “It’s only money” (which irritates me to no end).

Luckily, I knew this before I married him so we’ve been able to avoid many arguments and make good financial decisions together. Of course we have only been married for two months and we don’t currently have any money coming in, so I guess we’ll have to see how things go.

Did you talk to your spouse about money before marriage? What kind of money conversation do you think couples should have before saying “I do”?

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Showing 41 comments
  • Alexa Mason
    Reply

    Since money problems are one of the top causes of marital stress and divorce it is sooo important to talk about money before getting married. You do have to compromise in any relationship but it’s smart to be on the same page financially before tying the knot.

  • Reply

    We definitely talked about money before we got married, and the big thing for us was that it was a “one for all, all for one” deal. That’s kindof been the defining theme of money in our marriage.

  • Mikhaila
    Reply

    I remember half-hearing this report when I was in the gym the other day and I stopped my music to listen to it because I couldn’t believe it! Money should come up long before a marriage, probably even in the first couple of months of dating. I know that we’re a select bunch who would love to talk about money on the first date, but for me I think money compatibility is an overall part of relationship compatibility so I’d be more likely to ask sooner. If it doesn’t come up during dating and you want to move in together, you should have the money conversation before that happens, and DEFINITELY before you get married!

    Like Gail Vaz-Oxlade says, there’s something wrong when finances is considered more intimate than sleeping together!

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      Oooh I love that line. It’s so true too. There are things way more intimate and personal in a relationship than talking about money.

  • Allison
    Reply

    We talked about money, but nothing too in detail. I wish we would have been more open about it though. As a result, our first year was really tough, but once we outlined our goals and got on the same page, all was good!

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      That’s good. Ya it’s so important to have those conversations, and keep having them because things change like salaries and future goals.

  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup
    Reply

    My wife and I talked about money, but it wasn’t as deep as it should have been. I wasn’t shocked by anything and she wasn’t even shocked by how much debt I had. I told her that I had debt, but that she wouldn’t be responsible for it and I wouldn’t need her help to get out. She provided me emotional support and that was all that I needed. We talk about money still, but we know each other well enough and how our spending habits work.

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      I’ve found spending habits is one of those things that it’s important to talk about but you really get to know the other person’s habits with time. I’m a saver and my HB is more of a spender, but because we talk about it there hasn’t been any conflict because of it.

  • Common Cents Wealth
    Reply

    I totally agree that it’s very important to agree on money. My wife and I didn’t really explicitly talk about money much before marriage, but we were able to see each others spending and saving habits. I knew that she didn’t like to spend much money and would rather save it which was similar to what I like to do.

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      Well that’s good and also super important. Before my HB and I talked about money when were in the early stages of dating I definitely took note of his spending habits and recognized that they were similar to mine.

  • Erika Newlyweds
    Reply

    we had about a two sentence conversation regarding money before we got married, and money was definitely the biggest stress factor for the first two years of our marriage. Luckily, we agree on financial goals but mostly our biggest conflict was just not having enough money.

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      Haha that’s sort of where we are now, though as of yet we haven’t had any arguments, but we are newlyweds with basically no money. What a great start to married life lol

  • Rita P
    Reply

    It is always good to in detail about money, good post, it is all about keep it as much transparent as you can after all it is bonding of soul, mind and of course between the two

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      Totally. Honesty is the best policy, and I always think that the more you are open about the more arguments and disagreements you prevent.

  • Emily @ evolvingPF
    Reply

    I think for us it wasn’t so much about talking about our money management styles in a big one-time or series of conversations but rather just living openly in front of each other. We had separate finances but didn’t hide anything and talked about money stuff frequently as we both figured out how to be independent adults. Once we were thinking about getting married and then engaged we had to talk more intentionally about future goals and such – the things that weren’t as apparent from our day-to-day lives.

    As for which conversations to have (or things to know), it’s just everything. Sheesh. I literally can’t think of something that you shouldn’t talk about regarding how you want your life to be. One of the aspects of early marriage that people struggle the most with is shattered/disappointed expectations. So get your expectations in line before you get married and you’ll be much more satisfied!

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      Oh that’s a good one (the expectation thing). Not really related to money, but after we were married I kind of expected something to feel different but it didn’t really. We’d already lived together and been together for 6 years so I don’t know what I was expecting after we were married (fireworks maybe?).

  • DC @ Young Adult Money
    Reply

    We definitely talked about money before getting married, and it was something we talked about throughout our dating life. I think it was a lot easier for us because we met while we were still in college, while I think if you have already started your career it becomes something you avoid more so.

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      That could be why me and the HB have always been open with money. I was still in university and he just got his first job out of school so we were both broke. It’s easy to talk about money sometimes when you don’t have any haha

  • Rob
    Reply

    Like some of the others here who’ve commented, when first we married and then later on, we never really had any single big discussion about finances. Having first been engaged for over a year we could plainly see that we both were on the same page when it came to financial matters. Actions spoke louder than words to prove this fact. Over the years we pooled our money to help pay bills and buy our first (ahem… ) mansion (not)! 🙂 But more importantly we also made sure that we each had control of some money that exclusively was for the discretionary use of each of us – our own separate savings accounts. Every couple needs a little independence when it come to money without being answerable to the other in how it’s managed. At least that’s been our view all these many years of been happily married – and debt free.

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      That’s exactly what we’re doing. Together but separate money. I think having that bit of independence, even if it’s just a bit if money to shop with, is definitely important.

  • E.M.
    Reply

    My boyfriend and I were speaking about finances probably about a month in. We were at very similar stages of life, and student loans were rolling in. We wanted to move in together relatively quickly but our financial situations didn’t make that possible until a few months ago. We were constantly crunching numbers and tallying our expenses up to see how much we were paying, and what we could afford in rent. Neither of us are big spenders, and neither of us had any debt besides student loans, which we figured were normal, so there was nothing we were particularly ashamed about. I can’t imagine marrying someone never having spoken about money! My ex didn’t necessarily love talking about it, but I got him to come around eventually and he stopped living paycheck to paycheck. (That wasn’t going to work!)

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      That’s great the he came around. Talking about money is never easy. I mean most people outside of this PF bubble never talk about it!

  • Student Debt Survivor
    Reply

    You’re totally a weirdo 😉 (in a good way!) Bf and I talk about money all the time (and have since we started dating). I think it’s incredibly important that you discuss money before you get married. I know a lot of people who didn’t and are not having a lot of money fights.

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      I know I am haha, but I’m cool with it 😉 Money fights are the worst so that’s why I’m all about avoiding them.

  • Girl Meets Debt
    Reply

    I think J and I talk about money too much lol.

  • Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility
    Reply

    My husband and I talk a lot about money. We did talk about it before getting married but definitely talked a lot more after tying the knot. It’s working out well but we still have wrinkles we still have to iron out.

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      I think wrinkles are normal lol. We’ve talked a lot about money but things change and new topics of conversation are always popping up!

  • Free Money Minute
    Reply

    Money talk before marriage is a must. After all, money problems and fights are the leading cause of divorce.

  • GamingYourFinances
    Reply

    My wife and I never had a specific conversation about money/finances before marriage. I think it’s because we dated for a few years before being engaged and our personal philosophy about money just became apparent. I guess we just got lucky!

  • Dear Debt
    Reply

    I think the money convo should come up sooner than later, esp before marriage! If money is the reason of most divorces, it needs to be talked about beforehand so that everyone is on the same page!

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      Totally agree. I just can’t imagine how money wouldn’t come up before the wedding anyways, especially when so many couples already live together by then?

  • Michelle
    Reply

    The number one reason American couples divorce is because of money. If you don’t have the initial conversation and gently observe your future spouses money behaviors you might not catch and talk about concerns that you might have.

  • Jordann
    Reply

    My husband and I were together for ten years before we got married, and lived together for four years as well, so we were very good at the day to day, mutual money management. The tougher thing has been aligning our financial goals. I go a little crazy with my money and he is more relaxed, so we meet somewhere in the middle. I think that benefits both of us.

    • Mo' Money Mo' Houses
      Reply

      Ya sounds like me and my HB. I’m definitely a bit more strict with saving and all that and he’s more relaxed, but meeting in the middle works out well.

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