Planning a wedding comes with excitement -- not to mention arguments and compromise. Many couples spend a lot of time securing the right caterer, venue, and honeymoon location. But merging two people's finances is no small feat, either, and it's even more important to plan how they will handle money together after the honeymoon is over.
By implementing these three financial tips, you'll keep the marital arguments to a minimum and the newlywed bliss alive and well.
1. Honestly discuss your financial pasts
The goal of this discussion is to truthfully disclose everything. Tell your significant other about your income, assets, and all of your debts. This is the time to air your financial secrets; it shouldn't be a lecture about whose money management methods are better.
Use these conversations to listen without judgment and learn more about your spouse-to-be. No decisions have to be made about how to handle any of these issues. First, it's most important to disclose your past, understand your partner's, and open up the lines of communication.
2. Talk about what type of person you are when it comes to money
It's likely that one person is a spender, the other a saver. These "permitter" and "restrictor" archetypes will appear hundreds, maybe thousands, of times over the course of your marriage. But for a much more harmonious union, both partners will have to compromise when it comes to money matters. Through that compromise you'll be able to develop a game plan for how much to save, how much to spend, and how much to contribute toward goals like traveling, buying a home, and securing your retirements.
3. Craft your road map
Talk about your financial goals. Discuss how you'll construct, manage, and monitor your household budget. Determine whether you want to commingle your assets and incomes or keep them separate. Many couples choose to keep individual accounts and create one joint account for shared household expenses like rent, utilities, and groceries. Other couples commingle all of their income and have separate "fun money" accounts where they receive a certain monthly "allowance" -- say, $100 per month, to save or spend however they'd like.
Consider a prenuptial agreement, especially if one partner comes to the marriage with significant assets or debts. Even though this can be an awkward discussion to have with your betrothed, a mutually agreed-upon plan will quash any misunderstandings or nasty situations later on. Draft the agreement, sign it, put it away, and hope you never need to use it.
Congratulations are in order
Having these conversations before you walk down the aisle will make life much easier once you're married. So carve out the time to focus on your finances now. It certainly isn't as exciting as planning your honeymoon, but your marriage will be much better off for it.
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