How To: Vow to talk about money before marriage - Indianapolis Star How To: Vow to talk about money before marriage - Indianapolis Star

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How To: Vow to talk about money before marriage - Indianapolis Star

How To: Vow to talk about money before marriage - Indianapolis Star

Newlyweds and couples moving toward marriage, take note. Love, as it turns out, is not all you need.

Not if your goal is to avoid the No. 1 reason marriages end in divorce: Money problems.

"Mature, responsible conversations about money are a sign of a marriage that's going to be healthy and wonderful and enduring," said Brooke Salvini, a certified financial planner based in San Louis Obispo, Calif. "If you can't talk about money when you are dating, that is a red flag right there."

To get the conversation rolling, here are seven steps experts recommend to steer clear of marital money troubles:

Disclose financial records.

Before corporations merge they get a close look at each other's financial records. Take the same approach before you get hitched.

Swap statements for your bank accounts, credit cards, student loans, retirement accounts and so on. Also share credit reports and FICO scores.

"Not only can you start to put together a balance sheet of what the two of you own and what your debts are, you can start to discuss 'Do we want to combine our checking account?' " Salvini said.

Discuss financial goals.

A huge part of getting in sync with your spouse begins with discussing major life goals and the necessary financial commitments.

Discuss short-term goals, such as paying off credit card debt, and then craft a budget that sets you clearly on a path toward your goals.

Budget spending.

Failing to create and stick to a mutually agreed upon budget can lead to marital strife.

It doesn't have to be complicated. Start off by listing monthly income. Add in interest earned on money-market accounts and dividends from any investments. Then add up all expenses, including car payments, rent, groceries, gym membership and utilities.

If you're making more than you spend each month, begin planning how to set aside money for long-term financial goals. If not, consider ways to cut spending.

Treat your money as "our money."

Many newlyweds continue to see the money they earn individually as their own. They keep separate bank accounts and pitch in, perhaps equally, or not, to pay bills.

That can lead to problems, especially if one spouse earns a lot more than the other, said Anthony Chambers, a clinical psychologist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University.

If both spouses work, he suggests they arrange for their paychecks to be deposited directly into a joint account that's used to pay all shared expenses.

If they feel they need to have some of their money in a separate account, that's fine. But Chambers said the funds should come from the joint account so both spouses know where the money is going.

Keep credit cards separate.

It's not necessary to make your spouse a joint accountholder on your credit cards, especially if he or she has a poor credit history, which can drag down your own credit rating. Instead, make your spouse an authorized user of your credit cards. This avoids potential impact to your credit rating.

Don't split costs 50-50.

In marriage as in most other scenarios, money is power. Although splitting household costs down the middle may work early on in a relationship, it can breed resentment when one spouse makes a lot more money than the other.

"Very few things in marriage are exactly 50-50," said Chambers. "That can really start to bring up all of these other issues of fairness."

Talk about spending.

Talk about spending to find out how your habits match up. One person might have grown up in a family that counted every penny. The other might part far more easily with money.

Even small differences can become wedge issues later on.

George Osborne urged to "resist buckling" under pressure on banking reform - Daily Telegraph

“The Chancellor must resist buckling under this pressure. Plans to ring-fence risky investment banking from essential consumer retail banking must not be derailed by vested interest and must stick to the proposed timetable so that consumers never again have to foot the bill for a banking bailout that even the banks admit will not be repaid in our lifetime."

He added that 71pc of respondents to a Which? survey had said they were not confident that the Government will act in the consumer's best interests when implementing banking reform.

Which? is also calling on the Government to "fully enact" the competition recommendations made in Sr John Vickers' report on the banking sector to increase choice on the high street.

The Independent Commission on Banking, chaired by Sir John, published a report last September which looked into ways of avoiding major bailouts in future.

It made a series of recommendations including forcing banks to ring-fence their retail arms from investment banking divisions and other proposals included making it easier for customers to switch their bank accounts.

Under the Financial Services Bill, the FSA will make way for the Prudential Regulation Authority, which will focus on maintaining financial stability. The Financial Conduct Authority will be introduced and have responsibility for protecting consumers.

Which? said it welcomed the FCA's new powers, including the ability to ban misleading financial adverts, but that it must be a strong watchdog that stands up to the banks.

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