Couples often enter into marriage without ever having had a serious, in-depth discussion about financial issues. As a result, they find themselves frequently arguing or having miscommunications about money. If you are planning a wedding or have recently gotten married, here are some steps you can take to get your marriage off to a good financial start.
Financial Match-up. You and your intended might enjoy the same movies and the same kinds of food, but are you financially compatible? Take some time to discuss your finances before you tie the knot. Talk about your assets, your debts, your credit ratings, and your financial attitudes, including your spending and saving habits. Do you share the same goals, such as having children, buying a home, or continuing your education? How will you finance your dreams and retirement?
Going from single to married. How will you handle your finances as a married couple versus when you were on your own? For example, who will make bill payments or keep track of the budget? Will you have joint or separate checking accounts? If you maintain separate accounts, how will you split your living expenses?
Financial counseling. Every couple needs to work out their own style for handling money together. Call upon your accountant to assist you in setting up a budget, controlling your taxes, and mapping out a financial plan for your future.
Legal counseling. If you or your partner have substantial assets, discuss the merits of a premarital agreement with your attorney. If your partner has substantial debt, ask your attorney how you can protect yourself from his or her creditors. If you plan on buying a house together or combining financial accounts, your legal adviser can advise you on the best way to hold title to your assets.
One thing is clear, discussing fininancial matters before you say "I do" may have a strong correlation on your chances for living happily ever after.