They say that love is blind. If that describes you, consider getting some financial "Lasik" surgery.
It's fine to have your head in the clouds when it comes to your soul mate. But when it comes to finances, it's important to have your mind on the numbers. That's because a financial mismatch between and your sweetie can sour any relationship fast. This is much more than simply an issue of money. When you understand how someone relates to their finances you gain key insights into who they really are. Here are the five questions you need to ask before you tie your wagon to someone else's horses.
1. "What is your credit score?"
Your potential mate's credit score speaks volumes about how they handle their finances. It shows their attitude and ability to balance income, spending and debt. It's the one number that best summarizes how "financially adult" they are. Get your partner to do a credit report and share the results with you. Then show them your score. What's fair is fair.
2. "Can you show me your investment statements?"
Go over the statements and ask how your love object makes investment decisions. You don't need to hand out grades. In fact, you might learn how to improve your own investing skills by going through this exercise. The idea is to get a sense of how your partner thinks. Very interesting.
If there are no statements to share it says that your partner-to-be isn't able to budget effectively and can't save money. Red flag.
3. "Do you budget your spending?"
There is no one "right way" to budget. But you are looking for two things. First, does your fiancé think about how much money they have before spending it? Second, is their approach towards budgeting in line with yours? You both might be budgeting freaks and track every cent and that's fine. Or you may use a more flexible method to track your spending and that would work as well. But if you have vastly different approaches towards budgeting watch out. That is a sure-fire recipe for disaster in the relationship.
4. "Are you in debt?"
If your honey bunny has some red ink around the ears it doesn't have to be the kiss of death for your relationship. The key is to find out how your partner got into debt and what he or she is doing to get out. At the same time, you need to understand that their debt is going to cost you.
If your lovey is in debt, that means you will both spend dollars paying that down rather than building up your nest egg. And more important, if your squeeze doll continues to create more debt, that's going to create heavy financial friction between you two. Better find out about that as soon as possible.
5. "How much money do you save every month?"
If someone is able to set aside a certain amount of money each month it means they take themselves seriously and they are willing to do the work. Those are great traits and a strong basis upon which to build a future.
If your dreamboat isn't able to save on a regular basis it could be an indication that they are over-spenders, under-earners or a combination of the two. Either way, it's a problem now and if you marry this person, that problem is going to be yours.
6. "How do you feel about life insurance?"
Your partner may not have life insurance now but if you are thinking about building a family some time in the future it's smart to talk about it. I can't understand it but some people are adamantly against buying life insurance -- even if it's inexpensive term life. If that describes your fiance, make sure you find out now.
Are these questions hard to ask? Maybe. But if you start the conversation by demonstrating your willingness to share the same information about yourself, your finance should be more than happy to open up.
I hope you agree that the answers to these 6 questions tell you a great deal about someone. This isn't about you being greedy. It's building your future on solid ground.
If your intended spouse is less of a financial whiz than you thought, it doesn't mean the relationship is doomed. It means that there is work to do. That being the case there is one question that remains; are you both willing to do that work?
What other questions would you ask your fiancé before tying the knot?