One issue that is a source of arguments for most couples is how to manage their finances. There never seems to be enough money. Managing your money as a couple is important. Will you two share a bank account? How will the bills be paid? How will you save, and what for? There are lots of questions. Even if you’ve been cohabitating for some time, you will want to start planning for your future. A down payment for a house, saving for retirement, and lots of other concerns are there for you two to talk about, and address. A good way to move forward initially is to have one shared bank account, and your own personal accounts which are separate. Decide what each person will contribute to your joint bank account. This is the one that will pay off the bills. You may also want to open a savings account, an IRA, or some other type of account to save for a house or retirement. Research a good financial adviser. Ask who friends and family use. Your bank will have one, too. Sit down with one together and find out what the options are and what works best for your situation.
Find out how each of you spends money. Are you both savers, spenders, one is one, the other another, or both of you are somewhere in between? Don’t judge or blame. Instead, make systems that work for both of you, stick to them, and make sure the other person does as well. Splurging once in a while is of course okay. But if one of you is racking up the credit card charges, you are in trouble. Decide who pays the bills. Set up automatic bill pay plans with credit cards. Talk about your shared and personal goals and use the numbers, income, expenses, and so on to see how you can get there. Take a look at each person’s credit score. Meet with a credit counselor if you don’t like your score. There are free ones if you look it up online. Find out what you can do to raise your scores. Make a financial plan for your future. Plan to revisit it from time to time as situations change. A raise, a promotion, having children, one spouse losing their job, lots of things can happen in life. You will need to change your plan as well as your saving and spending habits to fit those changes. If you want a good, solid, and nearly stress free marriage, you need to talk openly and honestly about money, plan it well, and stick to that plan.