3 money questions to ask before saying “I do”

Louisville, KY—June 14, 2017—Prime wedding season is here. Before taking the leap, it’s important to understand your future partner’s money situation. “Few things make us feel as sensitive and vulnerable as sharing our financial picture with someone, even if that person is the person we love and trust most. But no matter how difficult, it’s vitally important to be open and transparent with your future spouse about money,” said Carla Dearing, CEO of SUM180, an online financial wellness service designed to make financial planning simple and affordable.

“Find the courage to ask (and answer) the tough questions before you tie the knot. In doing so, you’re laying the groundwork for dealing with your shared finances in a healthy, straightforward way—and that’s essential for a successful marriage,” Carla continued.

Following are three questions Carla suggests soon-to-be-marrieds ask their partners:

  1. What’s in your credit report?
    Any joint account you open will require a credit report review for both you and your partner. If your partner’s credit is too poor to use for a home or car loan, you may be tempted to take on those financial responsibilities on your own. But be careful: depending on where you live in the United States, should you face a divorce, you may be solely responsible for the debt owed on your home or car.

Few of us has a perfect history with money; it’s how we learn from our mistakes and move forward that matters. That’s why communication is so important. If you have better credit than your spouse, you can help him/her improve his/her credit score by practicing together healthy credit habits, such as paying bills on time and maintaining low balances on credit accounts. Take the time to resolve any credit issues fully before you open any new accounts together.

    1. Are you carrying significant debt?
      Debt can put a big strain on a marriage. And, although legally you’re not liable for debt your spouse had before you got married, realistically, once you’re married, you will likely be involved in paying off your spouse’s debts. That’s why it’s important to be open with about how much you owe before you get married. This way, there are no surprises; you’re building trust and teamwork by deciding together how to handle debt that’s still on the books.

I once had a 69-year-old client who had a sufficient retirement income and a comfortable life, and thousands of dollars of credit card debt. If something happened to him, his retirement wouldn’t go to his second wife, but all his debts would. I recommended he buy a life insurance policy that would, after he died, provide enough money to pay off his debts and get their son through college.

    1. How can a prenup protect both of us (and any children from previous relationships)?
      If you’re getting married for the first time and either you or your spouse have significant assets or perhaps even debts, you need to plan how to handle these if the marriage doesn’t work out. Don’t think of a prenup as a negative. If anything, entering married life with these decisions made calmly and fairly beforehand may take some pressure off your relationship, so you can focus on enjoying your life together. A prenup is especially important if either of you have children or grandchildren from previous relationships. The context of a prenuptial agreement should be: How to do we, as a couple, provide for our extended families?

      Consider these pluses a prenup provides:

      • can ensure that your estate plan will not be challenged by your surviving spouse;
      • can ensure that property will pass to your children from a prior relationship (without one, your entire estate could pass to your new spouse); and
      • enables one spouse waive rights to the other spouse’s life insurance or retirement benefits, so you each can make your respective children your beneficiaries.

About SUM180
SUM180 is an online financial wellness service designed to make planning and dealing with your money simple and affordable.

Specifically, SUM180 is differentiated in the following ways:

      • SUM180 meets people where they are. SUM180 plans are personalized to help people wherever they are right now on their financial journey; whether they’re just beginning, starting over or well on their way.
      • SUM180 plans are simple. They start with only the three (3) most important next steps, making them easier to accomplish, and gives clients a clear picture of where they are.
      • SUM180 doesn’t assume clients want to become financial experts to meet their financial goals. SUM180 provides the tools they need, without overwhelming them with “education” and details they don’t need.
      • SUM180 offers a community for users, unfiltered, which allows them to explore and share.
      • SUM180 serves; never sells. Earning and keeping client trust is SUM180’s highest priority. SUM180 never makes commissions from any of its recommendations, ever.

Additional information about SUM180 may be found at https://sum180.com/.


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Robin Schoen
Robin Schoen Public Relations
215.504.2122 office
215.595.7542 mobile