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Money Matters!

It is crucial to know what type of relationship your soon-to-be spouse has with money. You must consider that after college, most graduates have credit card debt and thousands of dollars in student loans. Those student loan payments can linger in a person’s budget until they are in their thirties. Others may have bad vices like gambling, excessive spending and partying, or a graver concern such as addiction (tobacco, opioids, or alcohol). Single people are accustomed to doing whatever they want with their money, and for some, that mindset does not change when they get married.

Here are things to consider and questions to ask each other before you get married.

Are you ready to change your spending habits?

Is your money yours, or is it ours? Is your debt yours, or does it become ours?

Should couples have joint bank accounts to manage household expenses?

Who should pay the mortgage or rent? Husband, Wife, both?

Do you consult with your spouse/partner before making purchases over spending over a certain amount? (e.g., Car, boat, expensive jewelry, designer clothes/handbags, plastic surgery, or investment property)

Planning a wedding can be expensive. If you are lucky, the bride’s parents will pay for it. If not, this will be your first significant expense together. First, you will need to set a budget for this special day. Then determine how you will pay for the engagement ring and wedding bands. The next step is the ceremony, and that is where the madness can begin. Brides and grooms become overwhelmed with the options in selecting the venue, flowers, band or DJ, food, cake, and find themselves with inflated costs even with the help of a Wedding Planner. Planning and paying for the honeymoon can be stressful as well, and I suggest working with a travel agent for the best deals. I was in my late thirties when I got married, so we paid for our wedding, and let me tell you, in 2007, it did not take long to spend over $20,000 for a 4-hour event.

How will you manage it all? Plan your budget and stick to it. That is how. Figure out what works for the two of you and be honest about what you can afford. There are always more feasible and practical options for a wedding. No matter what type of ceremony you have, make sure it is within your budget. Once you are married and find yourself in a pinch, do not hide it from your partner or lie. Sit down and communicate with each other and get back on track. Otherwise, you will begin a vicious, unnecessary cycle of lies, and for what? Money. Sure, every couple will disagree about money, but please do not let it become a problem in your relationship. Retirement is another financial area to discuss and plan for, and it is never too early or late to do so. As you begin to save for retirement, maximize your 401ks and IRAs. Also, discuss and plan for funds you want to use to invest in stocks and real estate and college fund savings for your children. Imagine discovering your spouse has invested and loss thousands of dollars of your savings in an investment or gambling, and you knew nothing about it. Something like that is undoubtedly to create havoc in your relationship. Please do not do it!

I believe the goal as a couple should be to gain financial stability by saving money and paying off debt as early and soon as possible. If you do, you can live your life with the financial freedom to do what you want. I have made financial mistakes in my life, but I have always tried to be fair when it comes to money in my marriage. My spending habits have changed, and my money matters so much more to me now as I look forward to retiring in less than ten years. With determination and a good plan of action, we all can build a healthy relationship with our money because it does matter.

There are a plethora of books related to this topic, but here are five that I found for your reference:

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