I am really bothered by the results of a recent poll of engaged couples on the website of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. The poll reveals that 68 percent of respondents held negative attitudes toward discussing money with their fiance. Five percent indicated that talking about money with their fiance would cause them to call off the wedding. Well, guess what? If you can’t talk about your finances with your fiance, you should call off the wedding!
I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it until the message gets through: You can talk about money before you get married—or you can fight over it through the divorce. Court records show that financial issues remain one of the main contributing factors, if not the outright cause, of the conflicts that result in 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce. If the inability to have the money talk causes you to delay, or even cancel, the wedding, good. Better a cancelled wedding than a devastating divorce. I speak not just as a money expert, but from personal experience when I say that the latter is far more costly—and more painful.
If your goal is to make sure that the wedding goes off perfectly and without a hitch, then by all means, skip the money talk. But if your goal is to give you and your fiance the best possible chance for a lasting, successful marriage, you need to have that financial conversation as early and as regularly as possible. Recognize that when you marry, you are entering into legal and financial contracts as well as spiritual and emotional ones. You are literally merging two incomes, lifestyles and sets of financial attitudes. And just like two corporations, if your merger is not thoughtfully planned out, it could be disastrous to you, your finances and your relationship.