You're finalizing wedding plans and are eager to sip champagne with your guests. But are you and your fiance prepared to marry your financial lives together once the "I do's" are said, and you've returned home from your honeymoon in paradise?
Poll after poll shows that disagreements over finances are the No. 1 cause of divorce in America. Finance and family counseling experts alike encourage couples to discuss and plan their finances together before tying the knot.
"Communicating about investing, savings, paying monthly bills and how you'll divvy up fun money with your future spouse helps you to start your life together on the same foot," says Scott Oberkrom, director of Community Investments at American Century Investments.
Visit www.YesYouCanOnline.info and click on "Healthy Ideas" to learn more about financial planning for soon-to-be married couples.
Some tips engaged couples can follow to get those money discussions under way include:
1. Pick a non-emotional time to talk about finances. This discussion could potentially be stressful, and doesn't mix well with the stresses of wedding planning. Make sure you pick a quieter time without the distractions of guest lists, hotel reservations or flower arrangements to interrupt.
2. Talk about your finances. Determine if you and your fiance are spenders, savers, or a mixture of the two. Also discuss what you'll be bringing into the marriage -- debts, child-support payments, lack of credit, etc. Look up your credit reports and scores together, and determine if you'll be better protected by joining your accounts or keeping them separate.
3. Decide how you'll track and pay for expenses. Who is going to be paying what bills? What is your family budget going to look like? Can both of you live comfortably off that budget? These are important decisions that should be made before the grand march down the aisle occurs.
4. Establish joint investment goals. You need to consider both short-term and long-term goals, ranging from buying a new car to putting your future children through college. If you're combining families, decisions about investing need to be taken care of immediately. For all your investing goals, talk about your time frame for reaching each goal, the different views you may have toward taking investment risks and then choose the vehicles, such as mutual funds, to invest in to help reach those goals.
5. Diversify your portfolios. The adage "Don't put your eggs in one basket" comes into play here. As the recent economic crisis demonstrates, having finances invested in multiple areas prevents you from feeling as much pain when the markets suffer a set back. Go over your individual investments and investigate where you might be doubling up. You want to have a mix of investments to even out overall portfolio risk, although diversification cannot ensure against loss.
Time will pass by quickly, so make sure you and your intended are prepared ahead of time for financial hurdles. Visit www.YesYouCanOnline.info for additional tips.
Courtesy of ARAcontent