Marriage + Money: 4 Things Every Couple Should Talk About

You don’t have to be financially savvy , “good at math”, or even in a relationship (let alone marriage) to begin to understand your financial landscape. In today’s social media world, it’s easy to curate a very complicated, overwhelming view on what it takes to understand your money so that you can feel confident about your money.

I was fortunate enough to get my financial life “in order” long before I was married.

Here’s what you definitely need to know:

Marriage is one of the most financially significant decisions you will make in your life.

As a business consultant & coach, I often work closely with women & their income. This can include things like money mindset coaching when financial decisions are driven by a fight, flight, freeze, or fawn state, to more tangible things like budgeting the business so she can take home more money while working less hours, figuring out how to afford a trip to Paris, or how the entire business picture changes if she finds a partner and decides to get married and how this informs where and why the money is moving.

Historically, financial wealth and literacy has been gate-kept from women. You know the history: women were expected to stay home and take care of the house, children, and husbands. Women were just given access to credit cards in the 1970s. The problem is not behind us. There continues to be a gender wage gap: as of 2022, women earn 82 cents for every dollar a man earns.

The problem continues: child care costs are out of control and the women are usually the ones taking the brunt of the domestic labor + childcare while their male counterparts take on a brunt of the household income responsibilities.

Here’s what else you need to know:

It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much money you keep.

This is true in business. Total revenue in small business matters less than total profit.

It’s also true in your life.

What does it matter if your partner is bringing home $200k if your life is costing you $250k annually? It’s one thing to know this is happening & to be aware that you’re living beyond your means or strategically using lines of credit. It’s another thing to be ambiguous about things that can and will have a longterm impact on your life, mental health, retirement, and more.


I believe every marriage needs to include clarity & connection over finances. In today’s post, I’ll walk you through what each thing means so you can start getting a clear picture on your financial landscape. Especially once you’re married and even moreso if you plan to combine your finances in any way, here are:

4 Things Every Married Couple Should Talk About

  1. Total Debt: Your debt as individuals + your debt as a couple
  2. Total Assets: What you own as an individual + what you own as a couple
  3. Total Income: What you each bring home as individuals
  4. Total Spending: What you spend as a couple + what you spend as individuals



Total Debt:

Walking into marriage with student loans? Your partner should know about it and vice versa. Have a few maxed out credit cards? Everyone needs to know about it.

It’s never “too late” either. Granted, if you’ve been lying to your partner or them to you, I can imagine that being a heavy conversation, but the sooner you and your partner on the same page about debt, you can begin working on a game plan to tackle it and get it under control.

If you’re not in a relationship, it’s important to have a space where you’re keeping track of your own debts. That Macy’s credit card that you’re paying $30 to every month- what’s the total balance? Your daily spending credit card- what’s the balance? What do you owe on your car? Student loans?

I have a dashboard page on my Money Google Sheet that shows me my total debt at any given time. Once we got married, I created dashboard for my husband, and then one that combines both of ours together.


Total Assets:

I owned two companies and a house before I got married. I had 2 well-funded investment accounts and 1 fully funded emergency account.

Knowing what each person owns before walking into marriage is important. Just like the above, it’s never too late to disclose this.

When it comes to marriage specifically, there’s a term: “premarital assets.” Every account you had before you were married is considered a premarital asset. What you contribute or profit from each asset throughout the marriage may be considered a marital asset depending on your state.

You and your partner should be aware of what each partner owns prior to walking into marriage. This should also be a continued conversation throughout the marriage.

If you get divorced without a prenup or postnuptual, the government decides your fate.

While it’s considered taboo, discussing and agreeing on what will be divvied and how if divorce were to happen is an incredibly important conversation to include with your partner.

It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom either. Knowing what assets each partner owns can help you both work together if a financial crisis were to occur.

Let’s say you own a property separate from your partner and you’re earning equity in the home. If financial crisis strikes, you and your partner can discuss borrowing from the equity to get you back to a livable baseline. Teamwork makes the dream work.


Total Income:

Money flows into and out of our accounts on a daily basis. If you own a company like I do, this likely means your income can fluctuate. If you or your partner have the opportunity of overtime, this also changes the income equation.

Having a consistent check-in to discuss what money flowed into the household is important.

You can decide what and how any extra income will be used, gauge if anything needs to be adjusted if someone brought home less money than expected, etc.


Total Spending:

Similar to the above, getting on the same page with your partner about total spending is crucial.

One way to get this wrong is to turn spending conversations into an argument, where one partner takes the “parent” role and one partner falls into the “child” role. We want to avoid this at all costs. Therapy can help! (Ya’ll know I’m a firm believer in the power of therapy.)

Spending checkins should not become a conversation full of finger-pointing, blame, and shame.

Rather, total spending conversations can be rooted in connected and curiosity.

You and your partner can develop your own system by which each partner gets $xxx-amount of guilt-free spending per month.

Does your partner want to golf a few times each month? Do you want to keep your gym membership and your manicures? These things can be discussed and worked into the total spending budget.

Then, you and your partner can come together each month to discuss how things went, what areas need improvement, what money went where and why.


If you and your partner are discussing these 4 things on a regular basis, you’re well on your way to build your rich life together! Cheers to that! 🥂


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