Financial Questions to Ask Before You Get Married - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Financial Questions to Ask Before You Get Married

Posted: Updated:

Some 4 million Americans expect to propose — or be proposed to — over Valentine's Day, according to the recent American Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey. But how many of them will talk finances before they walk down the aisle? Probably just a handful, even though it's far more important than the cake, flowers, and invitations!

Save yourself some arguments later by talk about your money now. Here are a few of the questions you need to ask your soon-to-be spouse:

What would you like to be in 5 or 10 years?

Do you both want children right away? Would one of you prefer to land a new job before you consider having kids? And what about those long-term plans to get a business degree — is that ever going to happen? You need to sit down and have a conversation, discussing your hopes, dreams and aspirations.  Then set priorities and come up with a plan to meet your short and long-term goals, one by one — together. This will help ensure a positive outcome!

What are your assets? Liabilities?

You really need to know where the other person stands (Secrets are lethal!).  If you have assets that need to be protected, consider a pre-nuptial agreement (particularly if this is a second marriage and there are kids, step-kids and others involved — assets often get into the wrong hands!). Saddled with high-interest debt? Come up with a plan to eliminate it — preferably before the marriage.

What is your risk tolerance?

In just every relationship, there's a spender and a saver, and trust me: this can wreak havoc! What will happen if one person gambles away the future? Poof, there goes the marriage!

What's your credit like?

Zillow Mortgage Marketplace analysis of more than 25,000 loan quotes and purchase requests shows that you need a credit score of 720 or higher to get the best interest rates. The analysis also indicates that if you have score of 620 or lower, you're unlikely to get a single loan quote. So much for buying a house together (Yes — lenders will consider both your histories if you're applying for joint financing)! Know where you each stand — get a copy of your credit from annualcreditreport.com.

Where will you live?

How will you come up with a down payment?   Again, this comes down to basic planning and planning starts with a conversation.  Once you decide on where you would like to live (take time to research neighborhoods,) and what you want in a house (list your priorities – what you can/cannot live with/without), you then need to figure out what you can afford.  This entails taking a hard look at your income and expenses, and ultimately setting up a budget. What can you comfortably afford to pay every month for the next 15, 30 years? Coming up with the down payment is just the start (think: 20 percent).

How will you divvy up financial responsibilities?

Some couples like to combine all their finances; others prefer to have a joint account for the household expenses (which you each contribute to proportionately, based on how much you each make), and separate accounts for personal spending. Do what works best for you and your spending/saving habits.  Just have a system!

Latest Mortgage RatesCurrentLast Week30 Year Fixed15 Year Fixed5/1 ARM
Mortgage CalculatorAffordability Calculator
Refinance LoansFHA Loans
Loan ModificationsHome Equity Loans

Mortgages, Home Loans, and Mortgage Quotes at Zillow Mortgage MarketplaceSee local rates
  • Real Estate NewsMore>>

  • Three design dilemmas solved

    Three design dilemmas solved

    Tuesday, June 26 2012 9:00 PM EDT2012-06-27 01:00:19 GMT
    Home design can be intimidating. From finding furniture for an oddly-shaped room to keeping a space somewhat kid-friendly, there are always design challenges. Today, with some help from our friends at
    Home design can be intimidating. From finding furniture for an oddly-shaped room to keeping a space somewhat kid-friendly, there are always design challenges. Today, with some help from our friends at west elm, we're tackling three of the most common design dilemmas in the home.
  • Vacation rentals: any profits?

    Vacation rentals: any profits?

    Tuesday, June 26 2012 8:48 PM EDT2012-06-27 00:48:50 GMT
    Borrowing from the boat owners' passel of proclamations, may I suggest: "The best two days of a vacation rental owner's life are the day he buys it and the day he sells it…" Those who live near the shore
    Those who live near the shore often hear rumors about the piles of money that vacation rentals bring in. "The summer months' rental income pays for the entire year's mortgage," folks will say. That may be true, but what about the rest of the expenses?
  • Amazing Tennis Homes for Sale

    Amazing Tennis Homes for Sale

    Tuesday, June 26 2012 8:41 PM EDT2012-06-27 00:41:16 GMT
    We're in the heart of the Grand Slam season, with the French Open wrapped up, Wimbledon on deck and the U.S. Open action for late summer. With the world's greatest players testing themselves on three
    While most people are confined to playing in public parks or at tennis clubs, some people are lucky enough to own homes equipped with private courts. In honor of the Grand Slam season, we're serving up some of these spectacular tennis court-sporting homes