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Questions for your premarital money chat

No matter how much you're in love, it will make things easier if a couple talks about their financial standings and debts before the honeymoon. The discussion should put everything on the table -- existing credit card bills, outstanding student loans and other debts, the assets that will be brought into the marriage and how the couple will divide their financial responsibilities. To help get the discussion going, here are a series of questions that a couple can ask each other. The source is Premarital Money Talk, a pamphlet written by Miami certified financial planner Meg Green.

  • What, if any, are your financial assets going into this marriage? Do you feel you can be open about this? If not, why not?
  • Are you willing to put everything in joint names or do you want to maintain your assets separately? Will you maintain separate checking accounts? Savings accounts? What is that money for?
  • How much income do you each have? From your job? From other sources?
  • Do either of you have any debts? What are they? Who will be responsible for them after you marry?
  • Who will handle the checkbook and household bills? What money goes into this house account? (For example, paychecks, interest and dividends; alimony or child support checks; gifts; any miscellaneous income)
  • What about credit cards? Will you share one? What charges go on that? Will you each have your own? What charges would go on those?
  • Who will pay for your clothes? Your car insurance? Trips? Entertainment? Gifts -- for both your families? For your friends? Who pays for home furnishings? Your next car?
  • Will you both have the freedom to spend as you wish or will you have to answer to each other? All the time?
  • If there's only one wage earner, will the non-earning spouse receive an allowance? Free access to the checkbook? Does the earned income belong equally to you both? Or does the wage earner have control?
  • Will you have a prenuptial agreement? If yes, to protect whom and/or what?
  • Who's going to own the marital residence? If not joint ownership, is there any protection for the non-owning spouse in case of death or divorce?

-- Updated: Feb. 4, 2005

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See Also
Avoid wedding night surprises
Joining hearts and bank accounts
QUIZ: Find out if you and your spouse make cents together

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