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Marriage and Finance


Getting married is a big step for most couples. It means committing to one another and taking joint responsibility in many areas of each other's lives. The number one reason for divorce in the United States is money issues, so to avoid becoming a statistic with this issue, it is important to have open communication about finances.

Before making the trip down the aisle, sit down and discuss your finances. Be open and honest about any debt or credit problems that you may be bringing to the marriage. Don’t expect your partner to take over these issues for you, but they do have a right to know as it could potentially effect them. On the plus side, they may even have some suggestions on how to improve the situation, or they could be experiencing similar issues and understand your situation. The important thing is to be honest about any issue so there are no surprises later.

You and your partner need to discuss how the bank accounts will work. Will you keep separate accounts or be joint owners on everything? Many couples have found that having separate accounts for their personal spending, and one joint account for household spending are ways to avoid financial arguments. This way, each partner is free to do with their accounts as they please, while the joint account is strictly for household purposes. This is especially helpful if both parties will be working and contributing. Be sure there is a clear understanding of how much should be contributed to the household account by each partner. Open communication is one of the most important factors when looking at joint finances.

The next thing to talk about is who is going to be responsible for paying the bills. Many couples walk into a marriage assuming they will each be responsible for the bills because that is what they are used to doing. However, it gets too complicated when both are trying to pay bills, unless there is a specific system in place that works. It may be easier to designate one of you to pay the bills every month. Once you decide who pays the bills, make a list of the bills that you have and their respective due dates. Building good credit together starts with paying all bills on time. 

Once you’ve figured out when the bills are due, the next step is to set up a budget.  Along with the budget, you should be discussing your financial goals, both short-term and long-term, as this will impact your budget. To start, both parties should write their goals down. How are they similar, how are they different? Talk about how you can incorporate both sets of goals into your plans and figure out your next steps. With that done, discuss your budget and how that relates to your financial goals. When making large purchases, be sure to consult one another and, as it is worth mentioning again, always have open communication when talking about finances.


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