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Cool-Down: How to Stay in Financial Shape

This article is part of our Newlywed Financial Boot Camp series, designed to get new couples and their finances into shape. You can find the other articles in this series here.

Congratulations on surviving Newlywed Financial Boot Camp! You're off to a great start, but I hope you've learned just enough to know that you need to learn much, much more for the long haul. Financial fitness, just like physical fitness, isn't a one-time proposition. It's about creating a healthy and ongoing relationship with money.

To help the two of you continue your great work, we've assembled links to some of the best articles and products The Motley Fool has to offer on subject areas that may be of particular interest to newlyweds. Take time to print out each article to share with your spouse. Articles can be terrific (and neutral) conversation starters when you want to broach a sticky financial situation with your beloved. If you're reading away from home, why not consider instant-messaging your thoughts back and forth right now?

Whatever the vehicle you and your spouse choose for financial conversations, we're here to help. Try these helpful resources on for size:

Couples and Money

Debt Reduction

Big Purchases

Protecting Your Assets

Retirement

With more means of communication than ever before in history, you'd think the odds would be on your side to find one that works for you and your partner. But money is one of those tricky subjects that -- face-to-face or by email, IM, or text messaging -- can quickly get blown out of proportion. If you find that money conversations between you and your beloved always end up going south, you should consider involving a neutral party -- like a fee-only planner -- as early on in your marriage as possible. While time can certainly heal a lot of wounds, it can also allow money issues to fester, creating very entrenched problems that are difficult to treat.

A fee-only planner will help the two of you with setting aside the emotion and focusing on taking concrete steps to enhance your financial well-being. Along the way, your planner can recommend cost-savings measures, savings goals, and asset-allocation strategies. If developing a plan doesn't stop the arguments, consider enlisting the help of a licensed mental-health professional in your area to help you sort through the issues.

Your efforts to improve your communications around money won't just have a good effect on your bottom line; they're likely to improve the overall health of your marriage. Congratulations again on taking the first steps toward financial fitness together. Fool on!

Fool contributor Elizabeth Brokamp is a licensed professional counselor who regularly talks money with her honey, Robert Brokamp, editor of The Motley Fool'sRule Your Retirement newsletter. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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