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Wedding proposal
Alamy
It's wedding season, and planning and preparing for the big day comes with excitement, not to mention arguments and compromise -- often about money. Many couples spend lots of dollars and hours securing just the right caterer, venue, and honeymoon location.

But if planning the merger of two lives is no small feat, it's also important to plan for what your financial lives will look like after the honeymoon is over -- and that's something you'll want to get to before the I do's.

By implementing these three nuggets of pre-wedding financial advice, 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. Be careful to avoid letting it devolve into a lecture (or argument) about whose money management methods are better.

Use these conversations to listen without judgment, learn more about each other, and connect with your betrothed. No decisions have to be made about how to handle any of these issues. Right now, it's more important to disclose your past and understand your partner's, and open up the lines of communication, not shut them down.

2. Talk About What Type of Person You Are When It Comes to Money.

It's likely that one of you is more of a spender, the other more of a saver. If so, These "permitter" and "restricter" archetypes will reappear hundreds, maybe thousands, of times over the course of your marriage. For a 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 buying a home and securing your retirements.

3. Craft a Road Map.

Talk about your financial goals. Discuss how you'll construct, manage, and monitor your household budget. Determine if 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.

Strongly consider a premarital agreement (a prenuptial contract), especially if one partner is coming 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 squash any misunderstandings or nasty situations later on. Have the agreement drafted by a lawyer, sign it, put it away, and hope you never have 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 so much better off for it.

(And after you tie the knot, come back to check out these 5 Smart Money Moves for Newlyweds.)


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seldenlaw

For a prenuptual agreement to hold up, it is best (or necessary in some states) for each party to have a separate attorney to negotiate and approve the draft.

June 24 2013 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
walters474

#1 cause of divorce is money.

June 24 2013 at 12:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Kay

I wish someone had told me all of this before I got married. He ruled all of the money and would never allow me to have any spending money, even when I was still working. If I needed money for something or the children needed money for school or something, I had to write a note and leave it for him on the cupboard, he worked nights and if he saw fit he would leave the money. It was his way of knowing where I spent every dime. I wish not that I had kept a separate money account when we got married and only put in the money we needed for mortgage/rent, utilities, food and other expenses. I had money saved up and was NOT the spender in the family. He couldn't keep a savings account and spent money on some very foolish items and also would make large purchases without informing me, like a new car and a riding mower! He just came home with it one day. But when I wanted a portable dishwasher I could not get one, but when he found out that i was saving money from my part time job and almost had enough saved up, he went right to the appliance store and brought one home, I couldn't even pick that out. He did the same with our first large TV. To this day I am still using his mothers discarded kitchen table! But now that he is gone, (deceased) I don't sit at that table and have not yet found one that I want, plus I want to downsize so not sure what size table to get. I even got to choose my own new car, all by myself! After my children were older, I got a very good job making almost as much as he did in his job, which really upset him. The first thing I did was to open a checking account and savings at MY credit union and only gave him what I felt was due for the household expenses. They say that there are many forms of abuse in a marriage and i could not agree more as I lived in a very emotionally abusive marriage. He always had to try to control us all, except his daughter! When they first came out with the IRA savings accounts, he told me about it and said he was going to start one, this was before I had my good job, but at the end of the year when we had out taxes filled out, I questioned how much money was in it? I was told in no uncertain terms that there was none, that it was his money and he spent in on something he wanted to spend it on.......called his Mother! I was told that he could do as he pleased with "HIS" money! When he worked so much overtime that we owed $5,000 in taxes I was told I HAD to pay it! Translation, he had no savings, I did! Claimed it was my fault we owed so much, so I offered to quit my job.....lol. Even our tax lady laughed at him that time! If he had not passed we were headed for a divorce by the end of the year for sure. I was completely fed up with putting up with him and his ways! Even my children told me to leave him!

June 23 2013 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kay's comment
Frankie

Sounds like you're married to a Republican. Very controlling. I agree with your children...leave him.

June 24 2013 at 1:41 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Frankie's comment
phil

..."Sounds like you're married to a Republican." Sounds as though you're an idiot. P.S. Hows that Hopey/Changey thang workin for ya?

June 24 2013 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
dungal1

Aisle.

June 23 2013 at 1:12 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Richard

Or, better yet, don't walk down the isle in the first place.

June 23 2013 at 12:14 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply