Wedded bliss? It starts with being able to talk about money

Spotlight on Finance

If one of you has poor credit, there are ways in which you can work together to improve it. Consider adding the spouse with poor credit to a credit card so he or she can start building credit. Or the spouse with poor credit can sign up for a secured card that will help build credit.

You should also consider helping your partner pay down debt. What is good for one is equally good for the other. With lower combined debt and higher credit scores you will qualify for lower interest rates and get better deals.

Joining your financial lives

Many states consider property and most debts acquired during a marriage to belong to both of you regardless of title. So even if you decide against opening up a joint banking account and choose to keep your finances separate, the “married” purchases you make will likely be both of your responsibilities.

This is why it is so important for couples to talk about money. It is critical that you know where each of you stand on financial decisions that need to be made—today, tomorrow and into the future.

Here are some tips on finding a common financial ground:

● Schedule a date to discuss finances with your partner. Talk about your earnings, debts (all of them, from student loans to car loans, credit cards, and so on), spending and saving habits. Make a list of all the expenses you will share as a married couple. Lay everything on the table. It is important to understand what you will be taking on together. Also discuss dreams and goals and how you hope to achieve them.

● Compromise through differences. One of you might be a saver and the other a spender. Create a budget that allows for both. There might be some debating, but remember, you are working together now.

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