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Funding Your Future: Should you combine finances with your spouse?

Posted at 1:26 PM, Sep 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-09 16:17:58-04

Financial expert, Rachel Langlois, from Cyprus Credit Union says when a couple decides to get married so often they are so busy planning the wedding that they don’t stop to think about their future family finances. What can a couple do to start a marriage on the right foot?

Do's before Marriage

  • When dating, ask the right questions. Learn their perspectives on spending/saving. What are their financial goals, what type of lifestyle do they require?
  • Disclose all debts, assets and financial obligations. Calculate your net-worth as a couple.
  • Order and share credit reports. Build transparency.
  • Save for the wedding and beyond. Do not start your marriage off with the increased stress of debt for a wedding beyond your means.

Do's in Marriage

  • Decide on separate vs. joint accounts. I would suggest a combination of both. Make sure to be building credit for each individual by keeping some separate accounts and having bills in each person’s name. Have discretionary income for each of you for financial freedom.
  • Create a plan:

o   Set a budget and aspire to debt-free living.

o   Delegate responsibilities. But involve each other in decision making.

o   Set a disclosure spending limit: at which price point do you need to discuss a purchase with a spouse?

  • Have Financial Planning dates. Set aside a regular time to talk about money so that it becomes routine and easier to do.  Set goals together. Educate yourselves.
  • Think about estate planning and drafting legal documents, but first update beneficiaries.

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