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Before You Say “I Do” – Financial Planning for Married Couples

Before You Say “I Do” – Understanding Your Partners Spending Habits

The Importance of Financial Planning Before Getting Married

Part of wedding vows includes “for richer or poorer.” In the early phases of relationships with stars in our eyes and happiness all around, money disagreements are the farthest thing from the mind.

However, “arguments about money are by far the top predictor of divorce,” states Dr. Sonya Britt, Associate Professor and Program Director of Personal Financial Planning at Kansas State University. “It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It’s money – for both men and women.”

Most people learn money habits from their parents during childhood, which shapes how money is dealt with as adults.

For instance if your parents:

  • Never taught you about money: You may not know how to manage money or budget for the future.
  • Were very frugal: You may have unconsciously become an overspender to avoid feeling deprived.
  • Spoiled you: Maybe you feel you deserve everything that money can buy, even if you can’t afford it.
  • Were very generous and charitable with their money: You may feel guilty if you aren’t as equally generous even if you can’t afford to be.
  • Lived beyond their means: Since that’s the only way you know how to live, you may not want to downsize to a lesser lifestyle.

Hawaii is a melting pot of nationalities with different customs and beliefs. Because family and lifestyle has such an impact on our money personalities, it is important for couples to discuss finances to understand each other’s beliefs and goals. Money is such an emotional topic, therefore open communication about finances prior to walking down the aisle is essential. Before moving in together or saying “I do,” learn about each other’s money personality by taking this quiz.

Some Additional Topics Worth Discussing Before Your Wedding Include:

  • How much are you both making before and after taxes? Is there money being put in a 401K or other retirement account?
  • Are you spenders or savers?
  • What is your credit like? It is a good idea to share your credit reports with each other.
  • Will there be a prenuptial agreement? This decision is usually dependent on current assets or if it is a second marriage.
  • What do you want out of life? A big house in the country with three kids or city living with a lot of travel?
  • How are you going to merge your current bank accounts? Who will manage the finances and pay the bills?
  • Will there be separate bank accounts each person’s individual spending?

Love and money do not have to be like oil and water. Honest communication about finances should not be feared. In fact, this dialogue before marriage should lead to building a financial foundation together and creating goals that will lead to a lifetime of wedded bliss.

Want a little more help?  Check out our eLearning module on SAVINGS and our BUDGETING TOOL.


About HSFCU Marketing

Hawaii State FCU firmly believes that financial education empowers people to make smarter decisions throughout their lives, resulting in a better financial future. We do this by providing useful financial tools such as educational blogs, online courses and free webinars on a variety of topics including planning for retirement, debt management and buying a home. For more information on these and other resources, including free financial calculators and budget-friendly recipes, visit and click on “Financial Health.”

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