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Money To-Dos When Saying ‘I do’

Planning a wedding presents a natural opportunity to discuss everything from income and debt, to budgeting and establishing priorities. However, a recent survey shows that about half of couples don’t talk about handling the family finances before marriage. And money is a major point of disagreement for most couples, married or not.

Discussing financial matters is a necessary part of making a life together. The conversations helped the couple understand each other’s financial values as well as create a practical plan for managing their bills. Some couples decided to open three joint accounts—one for bills, one for discretionary expenses such as vacations and eating out, and one for wedding gift money, which was renamed the baby fund when the couple learned they were expecting a child. They still have their own credit cards so gifts for each other can be a surprise.

New couples tend to get carried away and make a lot of big financial decisions all at once. They have the wedding, they have the big honeymoon, and then they want that beautiful home.

Couples should pause and assess their life goals and their financial situation. Buying a house comes with a host of additional expenses beyond the mortgage.  Don’t feel rushed into it by the market. Interest rates and prices may still for another year.

Let’s say you find a home, the lender will pull both of your credit histories and a spouse’s lower credit score will probably mean a higher interest rate. And that means you’ll pay more over the life of the loan.

The good news is that a poor score is not something you’re going to be stuck with forever.

So how do you improve your credit? Mainly, pay your bills on time and lower the ratio of debt you carry to the amount of credit you have available. There are so many websites that can help, and it can be easier than you think. Make a plan and work it.

A couple needs to discuss more than the financial nuts and bolts that keep a household happily humming along. Having a strong money relationship goes hand in hand with having a good personal relationship, have good, open, and honest communication.