There’s nothing more romantic than a man on one knee and a ring professing his love for a woman’s hand in marriage, but behind the cinematic scene, there is a lot to talk about before saying yes. Money plays a huge role in any marriage, and is a potential cause for the end of it, so before you get engaged ask yourself: are you financially ready for this next step?
As engagement is a huge concern, it is not a choice that should be done hastily. If you’ve gotten to the stage where you and your partner are thinking about engagement already, then optimistically, you’ve already found the one. Surely, you’d want a successful marriage that does not end up in divorce, so make sure you’ve got the following checked before you decide to carry on and tie the knot.
Almost 70% of Americans have less than a thousand dollars kept for an emergency fund; and, 34% had zero. Do you belong in these stats? Before thinking about getting married, look into how much money you have in your savings account. Remember, once you’re engaged, expenses upon expenses will be put on top of each other. You’re going to want to have your dream wedding, your dream house, your x number of babies and more! Marriage means a step further into your relationship, but also a step further in your finances.
With this said, it’s best that you establish your emergency fund now so as to not fret about emergencies later, when you’re in the situation already. It is recommended that your savings include six to nine months’ worth of your living cost. If this seems too hefty for you right now, three months would be a good start as well.
A decent amount saved up for retirement
Another essential thing to look into before getting engaged is your own financial health. How are your spending habits? Do you save? Do you keep a budget? As engagement also means more financial responsibility, you should be able to manage and control your income and expenses and avoid loans as much as you can.
It’s also good to look into your retirement plan even if you’re just in your 20’s. Your finances will change after you get married so it’s a good idea to make sure your retirement is taken care of. Don’t be tempted to touch your retirement fund even if it’s for your wedding, as it may be more of a burden in the long run for your savings. You would also want to own a home with your fiancé so mortgages and home loans should be reflected in your financial plans.
One more point is the state of your personal debts. If you have less than $16,000 of loans to your name, then that’s a good thing relative to most. This, however still remains a loan and it is still the best option to have none. If your loan is more than this amount, then maybe you should postpone your engagement until you are more financially settled. You don’t have to have zero debt just to get engaged but you should be able to manage your debt before taking this huge step.
As one of the most common reasons why couples get divorced is money, you and your partner should have a serious talk about your own finances before getting involved in each other’s finances. Basically, engagement isn’t a good idea if you have different views about money. Not only can finances cause a burden to your pocket but also to your relationship as well. It would also be great to work hand in hand to get yourselves in the right mindset and practice the right habits about spending and saving.
Money is a sensitive subject and this may not be the most comfortable conversation that you will have as a couple but know that it is essential to make sure you’re both on the same page. With all these notes to look into, assess your current situation and address the concerns that may come up. Soon enough, you’ll be on your way, financially fit, walking down the aisle!
Based on materials from Money Under 30