(Closed) Pre-marriage finances…any of my business?

posted 9 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
473 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Money is a big issue for me. I’m on the other side of the fence though. I’m the one with a bit of credit card debt (to be paid off in November!!!), and it was a huge deal for me to “come out” about it to Boyfriend. We started talking about building a house together (and will do so this fall) and I felt that it was important that he know where I stand financially.

Was it nerve-wracking? Yes. Was I embarassed to reveal my financial situation (credit card debt done in November, paid off my car in July, only will have school loans left) to Boyfriend, who is really good with money? Yes. Was it important that I communicate this to him? ABSOLUTELY.

Finances are a leading cause of divorce. I think the best thing you can do is communicate. Tell him how you feel. Tell him your fears. Show him where you’re at financially, and ask him if he’s comfortable doing the same to you. You don’t have to combine finances, but I think it’s totally acceptable to want to be aware of how the other person handles finances and what your expectations of each other are.

And congratulations to you for being in such an excellent financial situation!!! GL!

Post # 4
6572 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2010

I definetly think you need to talk to him about it. It’s probably hard for him to be on the other end of this, it can hurt a guy’s self esteem to have the woman foot all the bills, which could be why he hasn’t brought it up. But no good will come out of it if you don’t tell him how you’re feeling.

Post # 5
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I think CHK gave some great insight and advice.  I would add in that you might want to meet with a financial planner together. A financial advisor would be able to look at your total, combined financial status and direct you toward a long-term plan to accomplish your goals together.  It might make the conversation a little easier by having someone direct you back toward teamwork instead of focusing the conversation mainly on one person’s financial decisions.  Good luck! 

Post # 6
1573 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I agree.  You need to talk about it. Try and remember when you were in debt, it’s not something your proud of.  He might be embarrassed to admit this. After all, most men like to imagine themselves as the providers in the family.  The issue won’t go away if you don’t talk about it. Good luck.

Post # 7
117 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

You definitely have every right to be concerned about his finances and it IS your business. Once married, his debt will be yours. If you feel like this would be a hard conversation to have, hard to avoid it turning into a fight, etc I suggest either talking to a thearpist or even going to a finanical planner together where you can discuss, together, your future goals and expectations in terms of finances, purchases, etc.

Post # 8
290 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I think if you are going into the dicussion aware that it could trigger a major fight, you can be proactive about avoiding it. There is no question that it is your business. This is your future, your money, your marriage, and on the day you get married (unless you have a prior agreement otherwise) it will be your debt. It doesn’t need to be angry or confrontational or condescending. I think you can just say “Honey, I’ve been thinking about the car payment stuff and I think we should talk about finances.” That discussion can include current circumstances, wedding budgets, and future education/house/money management plans.

I am the significantly younger person in our marriage and occasionally I get upset when if feels like he speaks to me as if I am the teenager and he is the parent (even though I make more money!!). I think aproaching the question as “we are a partnership, we need to make deicisons together,” avoids that.  On the flip side, you should be open to accepting his imput and opinions about your finances and spending.

A word of advice on financial planners. There are plenty of legitimate planners who may be of help. However, many generate their incomes not only from fees, but also from kickbacks for steering clients to certain investments. So research carefully.

Post # 9
512 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Its very important to discuss finances before you get married. I was the one in debt and my FH actually had been through paying debt because his first marriage she ruined everything and simply walked away with out paying a dime. Being that situation we made sure to put things on the table. So much so, we have (jointly) reduced my credit card debt to one last card from about 10. I say jointly because I am in law school and although I work it wasnt enough for me to get it down – however, FH knows how much I work and obviously will be making money in the future – which Im on the right track towards my career,etc. He has helped alot however he knows its for the best for both of us – now with credit cleaned up with can include me on our future house and perhaps get first time buyer credit – since he already has a house.

Finances has a lot to do with people getting divorced. We are very open about our finances however plan to continue to keep separate accounts when we marry to understand we continue to be responsibile for our finances individually as well as a couple.

Its seriously a talk you should have in depth before moving towards marriage.

Post # 10
7174 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Don’t shy away from talking about it, just because you aren’t married.  You are making financial decisions independently that will affect both of you.  Communication is the only way you will be able to avoid resentment (or at least in theory it should).  December is not that far away and perhaps now is the perfect time to discuss how bills and paying them on time will be handled.  How each person will contribute to your joint finances, etc.  It does sound like you will be bearing a lot of the finances until he gets out of school, but he should know not to make promises he can’t keep (like helping with wedding costs).

He needs to understand that managing finances does not happy without planning and forethought – perhaps because you have learned to handle it well, he doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal – and therefore just goes with the flow.

And, even if it’s a rocky conversation in the beginning, you will figure out a compromise that works for both of you.  But don’t be scared to have it!

Post # 11
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

All the ladies above have some good points.

Definitely talk. It is “your business” because it WILL be your business. And if he has bad credit and you guys get a credit card together, your finances and ratings could go down, too.

Better to tackle the issue at hand together before it gets out of control.

Also, what’s his take on you being the breadwinner? Some guys have serious issues with this and he may feel too embarassed to talk to you about it, hence his “sweep it under the rug” attitude or dealing with it afterwards instead of before. Being proactive is key. Maybe take him to a financial responsibility seminar or take a long hard look at his finances and help him figure them out.

You should never be left out of the dark. If you were just his girlfriend, that’d be one thing, but you’re getting married! Good luck!

Post # 13
774 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

I agree even though you are not married yet, it is absolutely your business. Youa re about to start a life together and I know to everyone that means something different. Some couples keep their finances separate and that is their business. Others (like me and FI) combine finances. For us, it was just much easier to put our money together, pay off all the bills whether they are from our relationship on or before and know what we have left. I will say this…as odd as I thought it would be to find someone on Weddingbee with my exact age different with my Fiance, I did. I am 8 years older than Fiance as well and he is 25. I think you need to find out his priorities. I am not saying your FI’s are in the wrong place, I’m just going to give you two examples.

My FI is 25 and we combine all of our income, joint accounts, his credit card, my card, whatever…we do what we need with whoever’s means we can. End of story. It works for us very well. We’ve completely built OUR life together and we like it that way. Yeah, I make more than him, but I also have more expense and debt than him. And when we discuss our next big purchase it is about how it benefits the family, not one or the other.

Now, I have a friend who married a year and a half a go. She is my age and he is 30. At 30, this guy will try to get her to pay for things whenever they are out, maintaining he cannot afford it, but yet has not changed anything about his lifestyle prior to getting married…he still goes out at least twice a week for leaque type activities, which involves heavy drinking. he pays almost none of the bills, literally. She pays rent and all utilities. He was in charge of cable but that got cut off and same with the water bill, so she had to take the lead. Not to mention the whole lying and second guessing when he is telling the truth especially when it comes to his finances. He would never let her see his paystub (he’s been laid off now).

I consider those two very different scenarios and priorities. I think you are concerned about the second although probably not as severe as that situation. I think you just need to talk to him as uncomfortable as it might be and it may cause an argument. However, there is nothing that should be kept from a spouse “before” the marriage. Your Fiance could totally be telling you the truth. And he could definitely have some old debt that he is trying to keep from you. I know. It took me a while to tell my Fiance then bf about my debt too. A lot of it was from my previous marriage and I felt like he did NOT need to be bothered with it. Maybe your Fiance feels you don’t need to be bothered with his debt either.

As for being proactive…I think it is mostly woman who tend to do that. and if he does have other debts, maybe he figures the longer he can postpone that one the better and he can take care of other stuff.

Good luck to you. I hope it all works out!

Post # 14
944 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I agree with the ladies. The finances are your business because you are planning to getting married and you need to know what you are going to be working with come that time. I had around $5,000 in credit card debt back in January that my now fiance knew about about four months or so after we started dating. When we started talking marriage I told him I would not marry him until that debt was paid off because it wasn’t fair for me to bring that to the table and he have nothing. I wanted it gone before he came along, now I really had a fire to put out under my butt if you get what I’m saying! As of this Friday it will be completely gone 🙂 We are getting married in 13 months (he proposed back in June). Good luck!

Post # 15
1205 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I really appreciate you saying it’s “just money” — because as big of a deal as it is to a couple, it doesn’t change who he is. It’s not a judgment on who he is as a person that he makes less money or how much debt he’s accumulated through reasonable living (there is some judgment here, like student loans and Honda Civic vs. gambling debt and BMW note).

The Big Money Talk is important, but try to keep it about the numbers and what can be done and what each of you expect.

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