Many dream of being a June bride and I confess I did too ages ago. When I looked into why it was popular, I nearly fell off my chair laughing. In medieval times, people do not take baths everyday but once a year! The annual baths usually fell in May or June, so that meant June brides still smelled relatively fresh and so a good time to be wed.
This was a bit of turn off and then I came across this too: the month of June is derived from the Roman goddess and protector of women, Juno. Based on traditions, women want to tie the knot on this month believing they will be blessed with prosperity and happiness.
That sounded a great deal better but when we realized that it rains and rains in June, we chose to be practical and dropped the idea altogether. One of our reasons that may sway you too: well, weddings are one occasion where people take a lot of photos, and they come out best when the sun is shining down on you.
But a better version to hold off on exchanging I Dos this June (or any month for that matter) is if you have not sat down with your groom to discuss money. I’m not talking about the expenses for the wedding (although some weddings have been cancelled because of that too). I’m speaking of how you two will handle your finances in the many years we hope you will be blessed with together.
Most wedding vows include a promise to stay together for better or for worse. When you plan to share a lifetime together, that promise can haunt you, especially when money is tight or worse, gone.
If you don’t know where to start, you will be grateful for the world wide web that now offers many free resources, including money worksheets for all ages (I liked the one for under 30 couples and you may want to begin there).
Here are two things you need to confess and two things you need to affirm with your partner before you walk down that aisle.
Confession #1: Your debt situation (or lack of it)
Very few people in this world do not owe money so do not feel bad if you have something to confess (or if he has). But this is something that you both need to know so you can decide if you can share a financial life.
In other countries, some couples get their latest credit scores and share it with each other. Here at home where we don’t have that option, you’ll have to take each other’s word for it.
Be thorough and cover all debts. Do not think that this debt is too small to share, or too big to confess. David Weliver is the founder of the www.moneyunder30.com and in his blog wrote that he confessed his student loans to his girlfriend because he knew it would take him many years to pay off. But he came ready with a business plan and a budget and that impressed her enough to still say yes when he finally proposed.
Confession #2: Your assets (or lack of it)
This will cover cash and non-cash assets. You can start with properties if you have any, say a lot that you bought and still paying for, or now own free and clear. Maybe he has one too, and you can decide whether to sell one and keep one, or leave both in your names for now. But note that any real estate properties you own, will require his consent when you sell after marriage so might as well tell him about it. Anyway, the same goes for him too after the wedding.
Do you own a car? A business or a partner in one? Have savings in the bank? Investments in stocks or bonds? Tell him and ask him to share too. In fact, your state of wealth (or lack of) should determine just how much you two should spend for your wedding. Do not count on monetary gifts from guests to pay for your wedding. There lies the path to starting a marriage with debt.
Affirmation #1: Your money values
Maybe you and your partner are two peas in a pod but do not assume that the same thing will apply to money. In the under 30 couples worksheet, they offer questions that may open your eyes to each other’s attitude towards money. The questions include: what 3 things do you enjoy most buying; what 3 things do you hate spending money on; if you had to cut back spending what would be the hardest thing for you to give up; if you didn’t have to work all day what would you do; and if you had a million in cash how would you spend it.
Weliver in his website suggests couples answer these questions separately and then compare answers later one by one for a more thorough and candid discussion.
Affirmation #2: Your money goals
After you have explored your money values, it’s time to cover goals. It’s possible you didn’t really have any so this is a good time to also set some for yourself and for both of you.
You can start with the questions offered by www.moneyunder30.com or replace some or add more. Their suggestions include: a year from now, how do you want your finances to be different; 5 years from now, how much money do you think you’ll be earning—and where will it come from; 10 years from now, how much money do you think you’ll be earning—and where will it come from; how do you picture your retirement, and more.
As with the first affirmation, answer the questions individually and then talk about your answers one by one and discover more about each other in the process.
While the statistics on separation and divorce are rising each year, every couple who exchange vows do so with the prayer and hope that you are doing so with your partner for life. Being honest with your finances and having the money talk will certainly help you beat the ever increasing odds.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.