Financial secrets that is. Very often I am amazed by how many couples don’t know the full extent of their partners personal financial situation or how it affects their own. However, with money being one of the top causes of marital discord, I understand how it is sometimes easier to skate through this topic instead of sitting down and dealing with it. How much do you know about your spouse’s financial standing? How many of the following questions can you answer?:
- Regarding credit cards and credit card debt: Do you know how many credit cards your spouse has in his/her name only? Are there any that have you listed as an authorized user? How many carry a balance? Are they all current or are there any that are over due?
- Student loans: Does you spouse have any student loans outstanding? if so, what’s the total amount that’s owed? are they current?
- Retirement accounts: Do you know how much, if any, of his/her income your spouse currently contributes to his 401K or any other type of retirement account? Do you know how much s/he has saved for retirement so far? If your spouse has changed jobs, do you know what has happened to his previous 401Ks? If both of you work, do you know how much you both will need to save in order to retire comfortably? if only one works, is what that person is saving enough? Bonus points if you know how any of this money is invested.
- Personal savings: Does your spouse have any personal savings accounts you might not be aware of?
- Life insurance: Does your spouse carry any life insurance? just at work or also a private policy? How much would the policies pay in case of death? Who is the beneficiary for this policy?
- Credit record: Do you know your spouse’s credit score?
- Household spending: This is more for the person who is not in charge of paying bills, if only one is responsible: do you know how much money there’s available each month for household spending? Do you know how that money is being spent?
The way I see it marriage is not only a love partnership but also a financial one. After all, with your spouse you will share a home, maybe build a family, enjoy your golden years. Unless you know where both of you stand financially, instead of walking together towards the same goals you may find yourselves going your separate ways.