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Financial Compatibility: What to Consider Before Marriage

Determining your financial compatibility early in your relationship, and taking steps to make any necessary adjustments, could save your marriage later on.

Financial Compatibility: What to Consider Before Marriage

This is it. You’ve finally found “the one” and things have gotten serious. After a year together, you’re discussing marriage. You’re both excited and nervous, so you decide to research what to expect to calm your mind. Unfortunately, the search results are less than soothing.

What you find is this: Between 40 and 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, with the three leading causes being incompatibility, infidelity, and financial issues, respectively. You think to yourself, “Well, we’re totally compatible and we’re both faithful people, but what about money matters?”

First things first, don’t panic. Reading about divorce before you’ve even bought your wedding dress can be scary, which is exactly why it’s so important to consider everything, including financial behaviors, before writing your vows. Fortunately, there are ways to better gauge you and your partner’s financial compatibility.

Pay close attention to your partner’s financial behaviors to determine how frugal or financially impulse he is in everyday life. Does he tip at restaurants? Does he tip well? If he doesn’t tip at all, even with exceptional service, you may want to look deeper into his financial habits prior to joining financial forces in marriage.

If your significant other drives fancy vehicles and constantly discusses material belongings but fails to maintain his credit score, you might be dealing with someone who sacrifices his financial security to appear wealthy. Bragging about money and spending it on luxury items, yet coming up short for bills at the end of the month could mean he’s more interested in status symbols as opposed to financial status. Will he be able to contribute to your household if you decide to have children together?

Also, if he regards his family members as sources of income as opposed to building his own empire, then you might want to question whether he understands the meaning of earning something. Having different views on what it means to earn what you have could create problems later in your marriage.

Are you constantly footing the bill? Are his checks bouncing or his bank accounts being overdrawn? If so, you’re likely dealing with a man who doesn’t know how to manage his money. Other signs of financial ignorance include credit card bills exceeding what he can pay, not knowing where the money went, or purchasing items that he doesn’t need. Will you be covering his debts once you sign the marriage certificate?

Before jumping to conclusions, be patient. Discuss financial issues openly with your partner so the two of you can better understand one another’s financial behaviors. Open dialogue is a must in any marriage, and like financial incompatibility, communication issues are also a common cause for divorce. If you still can’t come to a conclusion on how to amicably resolve any financial issues, consider taking personal finance classes together. Having a financial game plan could potentially save your marriage before you even walk down the aisle.

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