1. Talk about the money
Communication is job No. 1 for the survival of any relationship. You need to be on the same page about where the money should be going. Then it’s easy to decide what to buy and when. You simply ask, “Where does this fit in the budget?” Work together to make room, cutting a little of her golfing and his beer-with-the-boys to come up with the money.
2. Do it together
When one mate is excluded or totally abdicates responsibility things can get messy. You should each feel involved in the big financial decisions and understand the day-to-day details
3. There is a “me” in team
The concepts of independence and partnership are not mutually exclusive. Independence enhances your relationship because every day you’re choosing to be together. Keep your own financial ID by having your own credit history and savings.
4. Face up to your debt
If you can’t be debt free when you tie the knot, you should have is a plan for getting there. Never sign for another’s debt. If your buddy needs help paying off debt, do it without putting your name on the paperwork.
5. Plan for the what-ifs
Have a stash of cash at the ready to deal with whatever life throws at you. A solid emergency fund has enough money to cover six months’ worth of essential living expenses. It’s also time to make—or remake—a will. Ditto for powers of attorney for both financial and personal care. Spouses don’t have the right to speak for you unless you give them that right.
6. Check your benefits
Ask your HR department what you’re covered for through each of your company’s benefits plans. Update your beneficiary designations for your insurance policies and retirement accounts. Combine all your insurance with one carrier and you’ll pay less.
Remember, marriage is tough enough so don’t spend your relationship getting your britches in a knot over every little thing. If the small stuff adds up to big problems it’s usually because you aren’t on the same page when it comes to your priorities. You see, we’ve come full circle, back to No. 1: Talk!