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Planning a marriage? Make sure you don't forget your finances

Getting married is supposed to be a joyous time in a couple's life. Often, it can be stressful planning for a wedding, making sure nothing gets forgotten in the lead up to the ceremony and celebration, but it is still a happy time for most couples. With all of those emotions, plans and details to worry about, however, many couples may forget to discuss their finances and what it will mean to be married. Though some couples think it is fine to wait until after the wedding is over, finances are really something that should be talked about before marriage.

Take, for example, individuals going into the marriage who already have some money and property. Should something go wrong and the couple divorces, should that property be divided with the rest of the marital property? Not only discussing financial issues, but recording any agreements about these issues in a prenuptial agreement may be the best way to prevent major disagreements later.

For young couples, saving for retirement will be an important part of their early married lives, but for couples who marry later in life, they may not wish to share retirement accounts with their spouses. Drafting a prenuptial agreement that says retirement savings earned prior to the marriage will not be shared could protect retirement accounts during a divorce. Trying to make a binding agreement after a marriage, however, would be a lot more difficult.

It is certainly true that marriages are meant to be happy, joyful unions, but it takes more than just love to make a marriage last. Frank, honest conversations and agreements about many different things, including finances, have just as much place in a marriage as love.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Financial Issues to Discuss Before You Get Married," Daniel Lippman, Sept. 29, 2013

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