Don’t combine finances before you get married

  • Do things in order: Dave Ramsey advices a couple they should pay only their own bills until after youíre married (File photograph)

    Do things in order: Dave Ramsey advices a couple they should pay only their own bills until after youíre married (File photograph)


Dear Dave,

Is it okay to combine finances with someone and start working on a budget before you marry them? I just got engaged, and weíve been talking about the idea of getting a head start on our finances together.

AUTUMN

Dear Autumn,

First, congratulations! I hope you two will have long and happy lives together. Now comes the hard part. But you asked for my opinion, so here goes.

No, itís not a good idea to combine finances with anyone youíre not married to. Donít get me wrong, Iím glad you two are thinking about your finances and your future ó and Iíd never wish anything bad for you ó but all kinds of things can happen before you become husband and wife. What if you spend time paying off his debt, or vice versa, then the relationship doesnít work out?

However, this doesnít mean you canít begin working together on budgets for the future, and planning and dreaming about the goals you have together. The thing to keep in mind is youíll both need to be operating in full transparency mode to make it happen. He should know all about your income and debts, and you should know all about his. Along the way, you two need to have serious, regular discussions about saving, spending, and debt to ensure youíre completely on the same page with your finances before the big day.

There you go. My advice is both of you should pay only your own bills until after youíre married. And remember, once that happens thereís no yours and his any more ó it all becomes ours.

ó DAVE

Dear Dave,

Iíve been researching long-term care policies. Can you reach a point financially where you can self-insure long-term care needs, and not buy a long-term care insurance policy?

PAUL

Dear Paul,

Itís possible, mathematically speaking, if you have the resources available to pay for the care youíd receive in a nursing home or similar facility for about 20 years. Not many folks have that kind of money, though. I think itís a large enough bill that it makes sense to transfer the risk to a long-term care insurance policy.

Keep in mind, too, if youíre married you have to think about your spouse, and make sure they have enough to live on comfortably at the same time. Thatís a lot of money. And thatís why I advise virtually everyone to put good, long-term care coverage in place at age 59 or 60. It can mean the difference between living with dignity, or having to depend on the government.

ó DAVE

ē Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven bestselling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

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Published Jun 6, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 5, 2020 at 7:05 pm)

Don’t combine finances before you get married

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