For those of you who are single, we know that a lot of you have a desire to become married one day and we want to make sure that you take the proper steps to position yourselves to be in a good place fiancially prior to getting married. Here are nine financial moves that you need to make prior to getting married and that you need to make right now while single.
WATCH THE VIDEO VERSION
LISTEN TO THE AUDIO VERSION
Know Your Financial Health
Be in the know of your financial health, and that means pulling up your credit reports and knowing what your credit score is. Most times, just because people are single, they feel that they don’t have to be as responsible with their finances because they don’t have children or they don’t have a spouse, and don’t have anyone that’s depending on them. Actually, you want to make sure that you are aware, know where you stand and know any outstanding debt that you have. So pull that information, go to AnnualCreditReport.com and get a free copy of your credit reports from all three of the credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Additionally, you can go to Credit Sesame and get your free credit score, and free educational information about how to improve your credit.
Start Paying Off Your Debt
You need to get out of debt and start the process now. Don’t think that you only need to do it once you get married and become a “real adult”. You are a bonafide adult right now and the best way to put yourself in a good place financially prior to getting married is to do what you can right now to start destroying your debt. We are not saying that you have to be completely debt-free prior to marriage, although that would be ideal. But we do know that there are a lot of people who are getting married now and both parties are bringing, for example, student loan debt into the marriage. The key is that you want to start on your debt-free journey now. Start the process now especially while you don’t have anyone else that’s depending on you.
Be Open and Honest
You need to make sure that you’re open and honest with your potential spouse. We’re not saying that everybody that you go out on a date with, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, that you need to just divulge all the information to them. But once you know that things are getting serious and are you all are starting to have the marriage talk where you know that this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, it is so important that you open up and be honest. Don’t be afraid that your potential spouse might judge you or they may leave you. You just want to make sure that you lay out everything because trust is a major factor when it comes to marriage.
Set Financial Goals
This is a great practice that you can begin to do in your singleness. Maybe you want to set a goal of starting to knock out those pesky student loans, or maybe you want to set a financial goal to save up for a wedding ring. Whatever it is, start to practice now so that when you become married, you will have a good foundation of how to set financial goals later on in life. Also in regards to setting your goals, set some goals and dreams that you have for yourself and achieve and accomplish it. So many times, people are putting their life on hold for that Mr. Perfect or that Mrs. Perfect. If you want to purchase a home and you’re single, by all means purchase a home. Too many times, a lot of people feel like, “I can’t go on to buy a home right now because I’m not married.” No, set a goal and set a dream. If you’re single it doesn’t mean that you can’t obtain those things and also have them.
Get Life Insurance
You need life insurance. Our favorite is term life insurance. We highly recommend a company that we work with – Policy Genius. By visiting PolicyGenius.com, you can get a free quote with no obligation. Even as a single person it is so important to have life insurance. There’s a misconception out there that just because you are not married or you don’t have any children and no one is depending on you that you don’t need life insurance. That’s absolutely false. You need to sit back and assess your situation. Are you taking care of an elderly parent? Are you supporting someone? Is there anyone that’s going to be dependent upon you that if you were to die, they’re going to need your financial assistance? If so, you want to make sure that you have term life insurance in place. Also it is cheaper to get life insurance while you’re young and in good health because when you get older, sometimes you can have chronic illness and have all different issues and the rates are going to go up. Get insurance now while it’s low and very affordable. Also too, a lot of times people are dying and the parents are having financial struggles and they don’t even have enough money to bury you. So life insurance comes in handy there, therefore no one would have to worry. You will not become a financial burden to anyone.
Have an Emergency Fund
Life happens whether you’re single or whether you’re married, and you and your singleness still need to have an emergency fund. There are various schools of thought – three months, six months, nine months or twelve months worth of savings. You need to take a self-assessment to see which one of those fits for you. The point is you need to have savings put away. Look at the expenses that you have right now, multiply it by the number of months that you want to put away in an emergency fund and open up a savings account and stock it in there. It’s for emergencies, not emergency clearance sales. Actual emergencies like layoffs, emergency car repairs, health and medical bills that’s strictly for emergencies. That way you are safe guarded, and when these events happen because events like this do happen, you won’t be taken off track from achieving your financial goals.
Start Investing Now
Look into your current employer’s 401K, or you can even set up an IRA (Individual Retirement Account). It is so imperative that you start while you’re young. We’re talking about sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years old because the earlier the better. The more money that you get to stock away for the future. A great resource to help you navigate how to get started investing in mutual funds in a podcast episode that we did with Vanguard that was super insightful and helpful. We really broke down the steps that you can take to start building long-term wealth now.
Begin to Educate Yourself
You need to invest in educating yourself. Take this time to learn, to grow, read books on personal finance like our book Money Talks: The Ultimate Couple’s Guide to Communicating About Money. Listen to podcasts like ours, The His and Her Money Show, or just read finance blogs. The point is, fill yourself up with information so that you can build a solid knowledge base to help you make the right financial decisions, not only today but in the future as well.
Probably one of the most important steps or move that you need to make in your singleness prior to getting married is ask your potential spouse questions. We highly recommend sitting down with a counselor, or if you go to church, your pastor, and have premarital counseling prior to getting married and one of the topics that you should discuss is finances. You need to pull each other’s credit reports, go over credit scores, and ask questions such as who plans to take care of the finances or the bills in the home, do you both expect to work, what if you will have children, will the wife want to come home and stay home with the kids, and things like that. You want to make sure that you ask all those financial questions up front. We cannot tell you how many people regret that step because it’s so important. Make sure that you talk and always start the conversation by making sure that both parties are extremely comfortable and that this is a no-judgment zone.
There you have it – the nine financial moves that you need to make while you’re single, prior to getting married. If you take this advice and put action steps behind it, trust us when we tell you, you will be in a much better position when that day comes where you walk down that aisle and start your brand new life with your future spouse. We hope that this has been helpful and that this has been beneficial. Now, the ball is in your court.