Money probably isn't something Prince William and Kate Middleton will need to worry about in their marriage. Yet, like any couple, before they stroll down the aisle toward royal wedded bliss, they should determine if they're a financial love match too.
With money high on the list of reasons for divorce, financial experts say it's smart to make sure you and your better half are on the same financial road before you drive into marriage. The following quick quiz and comments by Kelley Gay, assistant vice president of women's advocacy at MassMutual, will help you see if you're money honeys too.
1. How often do you talk about your financial goals?
- About once a week (2 points)
- Once in a while (1 point)
- Goals? What goals? (0 points)
Communication is the key to any good relationship. And in order to have a solid financial relationship, you must discuss current financial goals, as well as future ones, once a week. "That way, you'll make sure you stay on the same page and can easily spot a problem," says Gay.
You can also make any adjustments before things get too far out of hand.
Gay suggests setting regular "finance talk dates" to make sure you always have time to map out goals, and make sure you both have equal say in the forming of your financial goals and plans.
2. How often do you fight about an impulse purchase one of you makes?
- Once a week (0 points)
- Once in a while (1 point)
- I can't remember the last time we fought about this (2 points)
Gay says if couples don't share and stick to common financial goals, impulse purchases, even ones meant for gifts, can break the budget and potentially derail your entire relationship. "There may be an awful lot of fighting about money that was supposed to go toward rent, the mortgage or a savings account, but was blown in sports, electronics, spa treatments, and clothing that wasn't in the household budget."
She suggests setting the budget together and holding each other accountable.
"Peel off a portion of the household income for impulse things important to each of you--but don't call it an allowance. Establish a set amount of 'mad' money you each can spend however you see fit. That can be used or saved for impulses instead of dipping into money budgeted for bills."
3. How have you divided the financial responsibilities in your house?
- One of us takes care of everything. (0 points)
- One of us pays the bills and balances the checking account, while the other tracks investments and insurance coverage. (1 point)
- We sit down together and do everything as a couple. (2 points)
Gay says the best scenario is one that keeps both of you involved in all the household's financial matters. "In the event of an emergency, either one of you needs to be able to keep the household running."
4. Are you both aware of and comfortable with each other's money personalities?
- Yes (2 points)
- No (0 points)
- Sort of (1 point)
One of you may have been raised by parents who watched every dime while the other grew up with spendthrifts as financial role models. One may measure self-worth by the balance in the bank, while the other looks to possessions as a sign you've "made it."
Gay says some people are natural spenders and others are savers. "Talking about and understanding each other's background and values can help avert financial and relationship problems down the road."
6 to 7 You're just about perfect. A few more financial heart-to-hearts will help get you both on the same page. Gay suggests talking a walk together to discuss financial matters. Or starting a joint financial dream diary. "That way you'll be able to share fears, hopes, etc. with your partner."
4 to 5 Not a bad start, but there's work to be done. To make sure your royal love affair lasts a lifetime, you need to think of each other as equal financial partners. Gay says routine financial chats and clear communication will help you establish that partnership.
0 to 3 Yikes! Looks like the two of you need to get to know each other a little better before you ruin your credit. There's no time like the present. Sit down today to open your financial hearts.