Money tips to make your marriage safe and secure
SHARING a bank account may be one of the hardest things about sharing a marital bed
Whether you're newlyweds or have been married for decades, there's always time to walk down the path to financial harmony. Here's what you'll need to do. Decide what's common and what's separate. Decide whether to keep separate bank accounts, merge everything or a bit of both.
Count your debts. Make a list of all the debt each spouse is entering the marriage with and determine whether that person will pay his or her loans or if both will chip in.
Decide how to pay for household expenses. Some couples create a joint account and each spouse contributes money to pay for the mortgage, utilities and groceries.
Get serious about saving. Your expenses will only grow as you get older, which means you need to start saving now.
Prepare for an emergency. Financial emergencies cause stress and stress causes discord. And while you can't avoid the emergency, you can avoid the stress. Put three to six months of living expenses into a savings account or money market account and keep it strictly off limits until there's a real emergency.
Check in annually. Have an annual meeting to review your financial health. List all assets, debts and sources of income and set long-term goals. Start saving for retirement - no matter how young you are. The earlier you start saving, the more money you will have when you retire.
Chip away at debt. Households with less debt have an easier time qualifying for a home loan and can also save more for their future.
Have roles. Decide who will be responsible for keeping track of the bills and paying them. For unsecured debt, such as credit cards, try to pay more than the monthly minimum and pay off the highest interest first.
Save before spending. Create a strategy to save for a vacation or new furniture, without incurring debt.
What not to do. The biggest mistake is to start arguing over finances, which usually happens after one of these mistakes:
Don't keep secrets. If you overspend, don't hide it from your spouse.
Don't give up financial control. Just because one of you makes sure the bills are paid doesn't mean the other can live in la-la-land and spend without consequence.
Don't collect bad debt. Carefully consider getting a loan for a depreciating asset, like a car, because at some point you could owe more than it's worth. And stay away from credit card debt; balances can rack up quickly at very high interest rates. - smartmoney.com