Really. That’s it. That’s the one thing you can do that will dramatically improve the chances of you and your spouse staying happily married. Why?

“Money trouble destroys marriages and lives. It can be a source of very real stress.” says Warren Ingram, author of Become Your Own Financial Advisor. In fact, studies show that up to 55% of marriages in South Africa come undone as a result of financial issues at home.

So yes, talking about money would be a good start to divorce-proofing your union. And as we always advise during our workshops – the best time to do that is whilst you still have money – not on the 21st of the month when you’ve already been broke for a week.

But we’d highly recommend you take it one step further and give you and your partner a solid financial education on which to plan your family’s financial affairs going forward. For most people, managing their own money is problematic. When personal finances becomes family finances that’s when things can get ugly, quickly.

So what should you talk about before you get married, then? For starters – debt. You need to know how much you both owe, and own, before you join lives and bank accounts as you may wish to obtain legal advice about the way you start your marriage if you have concerns about your partners debts. It’s also a good idea to know if your partner is frugal or frivolous, how he or she felt about money when growing up as well as your respective ideas on ‘his’, ‘mine’ and ‘ours’ and how that should or must change if one of you got retrenched or stayed at home to raise children for example. They’re not easy conversations to have but, they are necessary. And like most things in relationships, it’s easier to cater for opinions that are different to your own if you know about them upfront and they don’t catch you unawares.

Author: Hayley Parry – Money Coach, The Money School.