Money, and how people spend it, is often a major cause of tension in couples. Before you walk down the aisle, it’s important to make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to what you plan on doing with your money.
While we hate to rain on anyone’s wedding parade, it’s important to not get so carried away that you forget to stay within your financial means or forget to make responsible preparations for your financial future together. Before taking the big step, here’s what you should consider.
Know your options
First things first: you need to know the type of marriage as well as the type of matrimonial property regimes you can enter into, as each one has its own financial repercussions. Marriage in community of property means everything you own and owe that you each had before the marriage becomes jointly owned. This is the default contract in South Africa.
Marriage out of community of property means that your assets and liabilities are kept separately and is drawn up as an antenuptial contract.
Check out this breakdown to help you decide which contract is right for you.
Have a pre-wedding money convo
It’s crucial to know your partner’s credit profile, especially if you plan on getting married in community of property. Knowing each other’s credit history will also give you some insight into each other’s financial behaviour. Be honest from the outset about debts and current financial responsibilities, such as child maintenance or assistance for parents or siblings. This way, neither partner will be shocked with unforeseen expenses after you tie the knot.
Think about a joint account
If you and your partner are comfortable sharing everything, a joint bank account is a convenient way to manage your day-to-day spending and saving. If one of you is less financially responsible, make the decision that the person who is good at handling finances will take care of the household budget instead.
Plan, plan, plan
Your wedding is only the beginning of your married life, so commit to saving and creating wealth from the start. Set up a meeting with a financial advisor to help you draw up a plan suited for your life goals and needs, and ensure you meet with them yearly to stay on track.
Budget – every month
Sit down together on a monthly basis to check on your financial behaviour and spending. Not only is this good practice but will alert you to any potential shortfalls that you can tackle as soon as they come up.