It’s not easy to talk about money, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t—especially if you’re looking to take the next step with your partner.Some couples choose to merge finances after moving in together or getting engaged. Before you do so, however, it’s important to get your money matters out into the open. After all, financial disagreements are the second leading cause of divorce. With that in mind, here are seven questions to ask before you and your partner merge your finances.
1. What’s your salary?
As a starting point, both you and your partner should disclose salary information to one another. That means your annual salary before taxes, monthly take-home pay, and any bonuses you receive throughout the year. Combining finances means uniting your respective streams of income, and knowing how much you each earn lays the groundwork for budgeting and financial planning.
2. What are your assets?
In addition to salary, you and your partner should know each other’s assets, the accounts and items of financial value owned by an individual. Besides your checkings and savings accounts, that includes stocks, bonds, cars, real estate, and even jewelry and electronics.“If you’re not married but planning on it someday, you should consider outlining each partner’s assets in a prenup,” Rachel Ryan from Legal Templates advises. “It may not sound romantic, but a prenup can act like a financial contract and help couples determine how to treat their finances moving forward.” Laying out what each of you owns helps to paint a big picture of your combined wealth and set expectations for spending and saving together.
3. Do you have any debt? If so, how much?
There’s no avoiding this question, and for good reason. Before you merge finances with your partner, it’s imperative that you know whether your partner has any debt, and if so, the extent of that debt. From there, you can dive into further details, like whether you’ll handle it jointly or separately. Debt is financial baggage no one likes to carry—but the more transparent both sides are about it, the more prepared you’ll be as a couple to deal with it.
5. What are your financial goals?
That is, besides retirement, what other goals is your partner actively saving for? This could be buying a home, going on a backpacking tour of Southeast Asia, or having an emergency fund. Regardless, knowing your partner’s short and long-term goals will further set the stage for financial planning, and can also get you both thinking about your financial goals together.“Not being on the same page when it comes to financial goals can be a big issue when sharing finances,” personal finance blogger Dustyn Ferguson notes. “For example, one partner may prioritize saving for a vacation while one may prefer to invest savings. This can lead to money going to places both partners don’t agree with, which is obviously not good. Both partners need know what to expect when it comes to spending and saving before merging.”
6. How’s your credit?
Ask about your partner’s credit score and history. This information matters because many institutions factor it in when deciding whether or not to do business with you. That includes banks, insurance companies, landlords, and cable and internet providers. Some employers may even review credit history before hiring and promoting people.If your partner’s got a history of late payments or anything else that may cause a low credit score, it’s worth knowing about beforehand rather than being caught off-guard.
7. What are your spending habits?
It’s possible you don’t need to ask about this one if you’re already well acquainted with your partner’s money-handling habits. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to double check.Consider the following: How often does your partner eat out? What about entertainment—for instance, going to the movies or out to a bar? Is he or she an impulsive shopper, or someone who prefers to think over every purchase? Also, don’t forget any hobbies that your partner may spend on. Even if you have the same financial goals, differences in your spending lifestyles could cause problems if not addressed ahead of time.According to David Bakke from Money Crashers, “It’s quite rare when couples merge finances and nothing changes as far as spending habits, planning, organization, and many other aspects.” In other words, don’t expect combining finances with your significant other to go smoothly; merging your accounts requires both effort and compromise. However, while financial woes can strain any relationship, open communication ultimately helps to mitigate these issues.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.49% effective March 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.50% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.81% – 8.79%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.55% – 7.12%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.00% – 9.74%6||Undergrad & Graduate|