For love or money

03/30/2009 5:20 PM

06/29/2011 3:17 PM

Before you unite in marriage, it’s essential that you also unite in the way you want to approach your finances. With money being one of the top problems couples face, determining financial compatibility is a must. Help balance your checkbook (and your relationship) with these great tips:

• Communicate before saying, “I do.” Are you the penny-pincher, while he’s the big spender? How will you feel if he comes home with an expensive power tool or new car? And how will he feel if you never let him spend anything? Determine and compromise ways that will allow both of you to be satisfied without going broke.
• Think about the future and set goals. Planning to buy a home? Want to have children? Who’s going to pay their college tuition? Have you thought about when you’d like to retire? Addressing these issues and creating goals ahead of time will save a lot of headache in the future.
• Be open about your financial history. It’s better to be up front with your future spouse about any debts or credit problems than to let the news come as a surprise.
• Prenuptual agreements aren’t just for the rich and famous. Of course you’re in love and you don’t want to think about the “what-ifs.” But don’t be shocked if the subject comes up. (You might even want to bring it up yourself.) Try to separate the emotional from the practical and discuss your thoughts and concerns rationally, and as soon as possible.

Remember to remain open-minded and willing to compromise. It may even be a good idea to involve a financial planner. After all, you are planning the rest of your lives!

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