It’s the hardest “talk” many couples or would be couples have to have. We are not talking about sex. We are talking about money. Yes finances. In a recently released survey by Paypal, 43 percent of couples say they argue about money and it’s only getting more stressful in this recession.
In my new book: How To Shop For A Husband, I offer tips to those thinking of choosing a mate. I along with my co-author Bonnie Teller stress how important it is to really know who you are marrying and what kind of financial situation you are inheriting.
For those already married, I recommend, having a financial talk at least once a month. Choose a time when the kids are asleep, you are not stressed and can speak to each other calmly. Financial experts say money is the number one reason for divorce.
Here are my 3 tips for couples BEFORE they tie the knot:
1. Discuss Debt: You must know what debt your intended is holding. That includes college loans, credit card balances, mortgage and car loans. How much is there and what is the plan to pay it back?
2. Separate Accounts: It may not sound romantic but once you share an account, you become liable for past debt. As the future progresses, keep an eye on spending and balances and communicate with each other.
3. Have the “talk” early on: Once you become exclusive with each other it’s time to spill. What are your views on saving? What are your priorities? Is he/she a big spender? Tipper? Are all purchases made with a credit card or with cash? How long has your love been employed? Can you afford to live comfortably if one of you loses a job or chooses not to work?
Money Values: How do you each value money? Is it meant to be enjoyed and spent without much planning? Or is one of you a tightwad? Can you come to some agreement without a lot of friction? Similarity helps. Two savers should do fine. Two spenders may need to get a third party to help them to navigate their future.
Find a good money planner: Once you are one your way down the aisle, find a good financial planner who can set you up for your future goals. It’s never too early to put away money for a home, college tuition and retirement.
Remember whether you are married or dating, communication about money is key.