60% of Couples Don't Have This Important Talk Before Getting Married
Would you walk down the aisle without knowing this about your future spouse?
It will come as no surprise that one of the most avoided conversation topics among couples is money. But here's a shocking trivia bit: Nearly 60% of couples don't disclose their own salaries to each other before walking down the aisle. At least that's the case according to a new online survey from SunTrust, polling a total of 2,018 adults. The data also showed that only 51% of respondents actually discussed money with their partner before getting married, and a mere 36% revealed their debt to each other.
Indeed, many avoid discussing the topic of money because it can be a difficult conversation to have, especially as your wedding approaches. "During an engagement, couples may picture their future lives with their spouse as ideal and without blemish, and may not want to risk shattering that view by sharing past mistakes around money," says Joe Sicchitano, the head of Wealth Planning and Advice Delivery at SunTrust. "Plus, weddings involve so much planning and so many decisions; a couple may know talking about money is important, but it may not be viewed as urgent with everything else they are doing to prepare for the big day."
To help get things started, Sicchitano advises you concentrate on your future as a couple to make easing into the conversation more comfortable. Below, his 3 tips for talking to your significant other about finances before saying "I do."
1. Establish some basic rules.
"Rather than setting rules on all financial decision making, start smaller and discuss guidelines together for what size purchase requires a discussion before it is made," says Sicchitano.
2. Get your finances organized — as a couple.
"Discuss which bank accounts you will combine. If you moved, identify all the accounts for which you need to update your address. Set an appointment to introduce your future spouse to your financial advisor, if you have one. Talk about who will help you complete your tax returns now that you may be filing jointly," suggests Sicchitano. "Discussing the actions you can take now and in the future allows you to broach the topic without seeming like you're investigating the past."
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3. Use "we-talk."
Choose your pronouns wisely. "When speaking about the past, saying 'I' or 'you' may be appropriate. But as you plan for your future together, couples should talk about money decisions as 'we, us, our,'" counsels Sicchitano. "Language matters, if there are past decisions one partner regrets, couples should talk about how 'we are going to make decisions together in the future;' not 'how are we going to fix what you did.'"