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Complete Article:  Newlywed Finances - The First Action Items!

by Krista Dunk, NWweddingplace.com

When getting married, one of the biggest discussion and decision topics for couples is finances. Sure, the wedding planning process brings up money issues all the time, but that time period has it's own unique circumstances. Don't wait until after the honeymoon to have the very important discussion about married life finances! Money and financial issues can be a serious source of contention for couples, so make decisions and set goals as quickly and as early as possible. In my experience, I've noticed that most people walk blindly into a marriage relationship without giving much thought to some of the deeper-level money issues people carry with them.  My husband and I did!

1. Evaluate Your Money Mentality
In your family of origin, you learned something about money. Whether it was good or bad, you have a money "norm" and so does your new spouse. If you're lucky, your money mentality will match your new spouse's, but probably not exactly!

There can be a huge difference between what people have or haven't learned about handling money. Some people grew up seeing their parents "finance" vacations using home equity loans. Other people learned extreme frugality, or that a savings account is the only option if you have any money. I have a friend who's mother would rack up thousands in credit card debt, only to then abuse the system by declaring bankruptcy repeatedly. On the flip side, some people got to learn higher-level money use, such as real estate investing, goal setting, stock market research, and other wealth building strategies. Figure out where you both are "at" by moving on to step 2.

2. Discuss and Set Goals
Now it's time to chat. Once you've figured out where your gaps in knowledge are and whether or not you have learned bad money habits, then it's easier to do something about them! Since you want to avoid creating financial strain in your marriage, jointly make some plans and goals. Don't be afraid to talk about your gaps. Your spouse is going to figure them out anyway eventually! It will help create a sense of unity and openness that is essential in your relationship. On that note, be careful that your discussions have a positive, team-work approach to them.

Once this discussion/step has been completed, everything else will more easily fall in line from here.So what kind of goals should you set?

Savings goals. Spending goals (budget).
Home buying goals.
Starting a family timeline (if appropriate).
Retirement goals (what age to retire and lifestyle desired).

3. Bank Accounts & Credit Cards
You have some - your partner has some. Now what? The main decision is this; To combine accounts or not to combine.  How you, as a couple, will spend money and pay bills should be a major consideration that aids your decision. As long as you agree, either choice can work well. At the very least, make sure your names are inserted on each others' bank accounts as secondary owners. It may also be a good idea to at least create a joint savings account as well.

4. Beneficiary Updates
If either of you have life insurance, 401-Ks, IRAs, a will, other retirement plans, or any other legal document indicating a beneficiary, update that information to show your new spouse's information ASAP!

Summary
The point is simply this - talking about finances and money is an important activity for every married couple. Newlyweds are so busy with wedding preparation and new wedded bliss, that it can easily get skipped! During your discussions if you find yourselves in disagreement on how to best move forward, seek out a mentor couple who you can turn to for wise advice.  Don't pick just anyone - find people who you trust and have their own finances in order.

Just keepin' it real .  Be blessed!

Copyright NWweddingplace.com 2008. All information contained herein is intellectual property and copyrighted by www.NWweddingplace.com. For information regarding use of this article, please contact article-inquiries@NWweddingplace.com.

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