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Question:


My partner and I are discussing marriage. What do couples need to do in order to prepare for marriage – aside from making sure not going broke as a result of the wedding? What questions do I need to ask my future spouse?
-LoveConquersAll


Answer:


Several issues could do with some spirited back-and-forth conversation. You probably want to make sure you’re on the same page as far as major financial purchases are concerned. Where does each of you rank various big-ticket items like a home, cars, grand annual (or more frequent) vacations and so on? Anything that is not a financial matter per se but is likely to involve significant expense, such as having children or letting your parents move in, seems like a worthy subject of discussion too.
 
You might want to articulate your general attitudes about financial matters, including the value you each attach to saving versus spending and how you feel about taking on debt and what you might want to buy with borrowed money. And while you’re broaching the subject, you could find a tactful way to ask your spouse-to-be how much debt he or she has accumulated already and whether there are any lingering financial obligations, say to family members or a former spouse. If there’s more of it than you’re comfortable with, you could steer the conversation toward a search for ways to bring the burden down after the big day or even before. Remember, once you get married, your spouse’s debt becomes yours until it’s paid off or until death do you part.
-Conrad de Aenlle



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