Money Discussions before Engagement

Is it your dream to marry someone who is financially savvy?

Is it your dream to not get a divorce because of money problems?

Do you want to know what they want long term with their money?

These were often in my mind when I had a boyfriend. All my friends and family knew I wanted to marry someone who was financially savvy like me. I wanted someone who would work with me on saving up for our dreams. Make our dreams come true together. I wanted someone who would sit down and do the budget with me and make agreements on our financial world. Often financial matters are hush hush, but why? That is crazy to not know what they are doing financially before you say, “I do”.

Here are some tough conversations you should have with your boyfriend before you even think about engagement:

Start small conversations

Make sure you truly trust your partner.

If you care about your money and how you save and spend, I am sure it will be easier for you than you think. You will notice their purchasing habits when you are dating. I would not recommend talking about this as you could see it as a red flag if you do not agree with it. However, some boyfriends do it because that is how they are showing their love for you. They learned this from their parents most likely. If you do not have a love language of gifts, tell them! Maybe, your love language is acts of service this requires no money. Such as opening your car door, doing your dishes after cooking a homemade meal. You will think about how much money they spend on you when you go out on dates. This is also something you do not talk about, but you notice it.

You will probably know what kind of car they drive. This could start your small conversation.

For example, they drive a nice care…”Oh, I like your car. Did you pay for it? Did you get it as a gift? Did you finance it?” These are only examples for you to start the conversation. You can also tell them what you did money wise with your car. “Paid cash for it.” “My parents gifted me 1 car and I still have this car.” “I financed it, but paid it off fast to not have a car loan.” They may value their cars, and if they do this may not be the small conversation starter.

Find out what they want long term.

These are easy money conversations because it is talking about your dreams!

Do they want to live in a mansion, a tiny home, or a ranch style home? When do they want to retire? What do they see their retirement look like? These will all help you in the money conversation.

For me, I often told my boyfriends “I want to live tiny to be able to save up cash for a house.” “I want to live tiny to be able to live for experiences rather than stuff.” “I wanted to travel the world.” These are all ways I talked about money in the beginning.

Talk about Values in Life

Do they believe in being truthful? This is a big one because it is important to be truthful about the amount of debt one person has. I have heard stories where people lie about the amount of debt they have and then they come to buy a house together and cannot be approved for a loan. You want them to be trustworthy.

Do they believe in love? Love of what? Love of their family. Love of their money. Are they willing to share their money with you if they love it too much?

This will help you determine if their money goals are they same as yours. I often said, “I want to be a CEO of a company.” “I want to be a millionaire and I will do it with or without you.”

Health

Know each others health scenario.

This is an important topic to talk about too because if they do have a chronic illness or something they have to go to the doctors for consistently you will have to budget into your future.

You will need to think about good health insurance.

You will need to think about all of those expenses.

I have contacts that I have to get yearly prescriptions, and both my husband and I have fake teeth. We might have to get them redone in the future which we are saving for in our health savings account monthly.

Debts

It is important to be honest about what debts you have. Whether it is student loans, which 98% of people have. Car loans is another discussion to have. Personal loans. Do you have a credit cards with debt on it? These are all debts that are to be discussed to be open about money.

My husband knew I was debt free, and I wanted him to be debt free too. He had his personal loan for his car and student loans. He was actually upside down on his loan, but then one day his car broke down. That is when I decided to give him my car that was 100% paid off. He paid off his old personal loan for the car and sold his broken down car. He always tells me that is how he knew I was going to be his wife.

Be honest about your debts with your significant other!

Income

You will most likely talk about your income when you are close to getting engaged and have a life together. If you know you make more than your significant other, are they okay with this? It is normal for women to make more than men today. That is awesome, but would they be okay with this? These are conversations you need to have.

If you are going to start a family, talk about income this way as well. Would you want to stay home? Would you want your partner to stay home with the kids? Could you live off of one income or would you need two incomes and have the baby go to daycare? Day care is expense — $1,200 – $1,800 a month for a baby in the city!

Credit Scores

Your credit score is not a secret when you get married, so it should not be when you are about to be engaged! Why? What happens when you want to buy a house and your significant other has a bad credit score? You would not be approved for our mortgage. Remember you want to be able to use your credit score to get discounts on things like insurance, mortgages, etc.

Financial Goals – Big and Small

This is the fun topic to talk about with your significant other. Big huge financial goals what are they? A dream house, a boat, a dream car, etc. Being able to put your kids through private school or not.

Small financial goals could be saving up for Christmas, having an emergency fund, saving for a vacation instead of putting it on a credit card.

Joint vs Non-joint accounts

As the Bible says, you are united and this means sexually, but also includes your emotions (one will lift you up when the other is done and vice verse), food, shelter, possessions, and other stuff including your banking accounts are one.

Ephesians 5:31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

When you get married not only are you united under the same roof, but also with your finances which is why it is very smart to talk about having a joint account. We have been married for over a year and talk about it all the time, but still have not pulled the trigger to do it. We keep track of all our finances on mint.com.

Size of your Ring/Cost of it

This is super important when you are starting to get serious about getting engaged or you know it could happen with the person you are currently with. Why? Would you like them to take our a loan for a ring that is the amount of a car? Or would you rather receive a ring that the person can financially afford?

Do you want a huge ring but one that is in their budget? You should not have them pay more than 2 months of income. Therefore if you make $1,000 a month you should by a $2,000 ring. If you make $1,500, you can pay $3,000.

You want to be smart about it. I know people who have proposed with a .25 cent ring and they are still married and have been for a long time, but knew they did not want to go into debt for a ring. When they could afford more, the spouse bought a new ring for her that cost more.

I know people who only buy the silicon band which is a frugal. We looked at these since we were both in the retail working with customers, but ended up not getting them.

My husband paid less than the 2 month rule and I am okay with that plus he knows I did not want to be in debt because of my ring. We discussed what I liked and I showed him lots of photos. I told him I liked vintage and emerald cut. I love it, plus he got it with a deal where it was no interest for 12 months. He was able to pay it off before we got married. If he would have paid the minimum payment though he would have ended up paying interest, but he calculated it so he did not. (He is a smart man — why I married him!)

All of these topics are good to have with your partner before you think about getting engaged. You want to be open about a serious topic with each other.

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