Q: I'm planning to propose to my girlfriend soon. I know she will say 'yes' but I'm worried about telling her that I've had some financial troubles in the past. How much should I say?
A: Marriage can be a wonderful experience but it is crucial that you start your life together knowing where each of you stands financially.
I would encourage you to have a conversation with your intended, using the following questions to get you started:
-What does money mean to each of you?
-What are your financial goals -- short, medium and long-term?
-How do you each see managing your money once you are married?
-What credit products do you each use?
-To whom do you owe money and how much?
-Have either of you been behind on payments?
-Have either of you been bankrupt or needed help repaying debt?
The impact of financial secrets can be devastating and far-reaching. Some examples include but are not limited to your ability to rent a home where credit checks are performed, buy a vehicle, apply for certain jobs and purchase a house.
Imagine if your intended also had financial secrets and didn't tell you until you were married and sitting at the bank to discuss buying a home? You would likely feel betrayed.
I strongly encourage you to be completely honest with your girlfriend because anything less is like committing financial infidelity. We all make financial mistakes. How we deal with them is what sets us up for success or failure.
Don't let financial secrets shackle you as you carry your wife over the threshold.