Couples often enter into marriage without ever having had a serious discussion about financial issues. As a result, they find themselves frequently arguing about money. If you are planning a wedding, here are some steps you can take to get your marriage off to a good financial start.
* Premarital financial discussions. 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?
How will you handle your finances as a married couple? For example, who will pay the bills? Will you maintain joint or separate checking accounts? If you maintain separate accounts, how will you split your expenses?
* Premarital financial counseling. Every couple needs to work out their own style for handling money. Call upon your accountant to assist you in setting up a budget, controlling your taxes, and mapping out a financial plan for your future.
* Premarital legal counseling. If you 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.
Perhaps you plan on buying a house together or combining financial accounts. Your attorney can advise you on the best way to hold title to your assets.
Discussing your finances before you say “I do” may increase your chances for living happily ever after.