I have two questions for you today and I really want to get your answers in the comments!
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about premarital preparation as I have a lot of friends who are engaged or newlyweds or are on their way to engagement. Because I believe that if you agree with your partner about your money you agree about your life to a great extent, I think that really hashing out in detail before the wedding how your marital finances will look could be a decent stand-in for formal premarital counseling. Kyle and I benefited from an excellent premarital counseling program through our church, but I know not everyone has access to that kind of resources, especially for free or at low cost.
My questions for you today are:
1) What money-related conversation are you grateful you had with your spouse before your wedding?
2) What money-related conversation do you wish you had had with your spouse before your wedding?
For those of you who combined finances premaritally, you can just answer the questions for before you started combining.
I’ll go first!
1) I’m really glad our premarital counseling program prompted us to talk about our families of origin. That wasn’t exclusively a financial conversation but finances definitely played into it. While Kyle and I were dating, we were able to observe a lot about each other’s current styles of money management, but we hadn’t really delved into the psychology of how our families of origin had affected us. Talking about our childhood and adolescence give us more insight not only into each other but also into our soon-to-be in-laws. For example, I perceive my parents to be not so great with money, so I tend to want to do the opposite of what I saw them do when I was a kid.
2) I wish I had been better prepared for Kyle’s glacially slow pace of decision-making. I consider myself to have a very careful and deliberate decision-making process, but Kyle is extreme even in comparison with me. It took us over a year to decide how to invest our student loan payoff money! That slow decision actually cost us a lot of money. We also delayed properly combining all our accounts after our wedding for about six months because we couldn’t agree on what bank to use! I’m not sure what conversation would have helped me understand that this aspect of Kyle’s personality, which I had already observed in other areas of life, would apply to our finances as well.
On a small scale, I could have asked him how long he researches and considers a purchase before making it (months, usually, which I love because it’s so anti-impulse). Maybe I could also have asked how he made decisions about previous investments, like his Roth IRA, and what the timeline was. More generally, I could have asked how time pressure affects his decision-making, like a short-term sale or market conditions. I also wish I had known how we could speed up his decision-making, but I haven’t even figured that out after four years!
photo from Free Digital Photos