Each year in the United States, approximately 2.2 million couples tie the knot. Of those people, about 50.67% will eventually get divorced, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
Money problems are the number one cause of marital arguments. Jim Trippon, CPA, author and financial planning expert, says most of these divorces could have been prevented if the brides-to-be knew the answers to three simple questions.
"Money is a hard subject for couples to talk about, but shying away from the issue usually leads to complications later on down the road," says Trippon. "It's best to put it all on the table and work your finances out before jumping into marriage."
There are many red flags that warn you when you should become a "runaway bride," and according to Trippon, most divorces could be avoided by asking these questions before marriage:
1) Can you show me your credit report and FICO score?
Taking a look at your fiancées credit report and FICO score can be very telling. In a credit report, you can learn whether he has a history of paying his bills on time, who he owes money to, if he is in debt, if he consistently overdraws and even if he owes backed taxes and child support payments.
A FICO score is based on a person's credit history, and scores typically range from 450 to 850, the better their credit, the higher their score. Any score below 700 is cause for worry and should be discussed with your fiancée.
2) What are your financial goals?
It's important that your future fiancée have a plan in mind for your combined finances. There are five important steps to follow when devising a financial plan:
Reading financial planning books such as Trippon's is an easy way to get stated on setting your financial goals.
- get educated about wealth
- perform a "Gap Analysis" to compare your current spending with your income
- live a modest lifestyle
- establish a emergency fund and debt elimination plan
- automate your savings
3) Do you have a written budget?
Most people begin building their wealth by first learning how to budget their money wisely. Trippon says the most important lesson to learn is to begin living on "income" and not on "if-come." Brides should make sure that their husband-to-be doesn't have a habit of spending on impulse.
He should keep a written budget of his spending habits and follow it, leaving money to put away as savings each month. By creating a routine of following a written budget, your fiancée will acquire and maintain significant wealth throughout his lifetime.
"Brides can learn a lot about their fiancée by going over these things with them," says Trippon. "Knowing the details of your partner's financial history can help a couple to have a happier and longer lasting marriage."
Trippon, has recently completed a study of 537 millionaires' spending habits, is the author of "How Millionaires Stay Rich Forever: Retirement Planning Secrets of Millionaires and How They Can Work for You."
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