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Summer is the season for wedding bells. The first year of marriage can be a challenging transition. Since money is one of the biggest causes of marital discord, it is to your benefit to be up front and honest with your partner early on about financial management. If you can sit down well before the wedding and come to an agreement on the big stuff, the little stuff will fall into place.
According to My Dollar Plan, at a minimum, you should discuss the following:
- Your current financial state: What outstanding debts are you bringing into your relationship? What assets do you have to grow your finances and purchase a home?
- How you will handle debt: Will you treat debt payments similarly to or differently from other bills? Each person may be responsible for their own debts, or you may choose to attack all debt together. You can utilize Metro Credit Union’s MoneyDesktop, free online budgeting tool that takes your transactions from Metro Credit Union (and other financial institutions) and imports them to give you a full look at all your finances. This will help assess where you are spending your money, create budgets and more.
- Spending “rules”: Will you each have a discretionary amount to spend per month? What do you do if one partner wants to make a big purchase and what defines that dollar amount? Metro Credit Union’s financial calculator for home financing, personal financing, investment, retirement and lease questions can help you when making big spending decisions.
- How each person will contribute to the financial management: Who will actually be responsible for paying the bills? Discuss who manages making any necessary transfers into/out of savings accounts, choosing investments, etc. Metro Credit Union can help you save time and money with electronic bill payment.
- How financial disputes will be sorted out: If you win the lottery (wowza!!) or just get a little extra in your pocket from a work bonus, what will you do? On the downside, if you go over your budget or get into serious financial trouble, how do you work that out?
- Your major financial goals, both individually and as a couple: What do you see your lifestyle as? Owning a home or traveling? Do you want to have children or further your education? Metro First Mortage can help you on your way to being a first time home owner.
After you settle in to your new life as a married couple, it will be important to have regular financial checkups. You may want to plan a meeting each month to review bills, spending, and savings. Make a point of sitting together at least annually to review progress on your initial goals and adjust or set new ones. As your marriage progresses, your initial financial strategy may no longer be appropriate. No matter what, remember that marriage is built on trust, honesty and partnership – and that goes for dealing with your finances too!