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Financial issues are the #1 cause of marital friction. Therefore, learning how to talk about money early on could not only help you get a handle on debt but save your marriage. Here's are BRIDES magazine's tips:
1. Talk! Find out about any debt either one of you has, and figure out a plan to bring it down each month. Schedule a financial check-in with each other once a month to make sure you are on the same page and are meeting your goals.
2. Create a joint budget and a master financial plan for your mutual spending. Decide what you'll do with your wedding checks: which should be used for immediate needs, like a deposit on a rental apartment, a down payment on a car, or furniture for your new home; and which should stashed away in your savings.
3. Go through all your policies and accounts, and change the beneficiary designations if you want your new spouse to own these assets should something happen to you. Besides insurance policies, 401(k) plans, IRAs, and savings, also change the beneficiary on any bonds and CDs.
4. Set up an emergency-cash fund that would cover your living expenses for several months. You want to know you'll be secure for a minimum of three—and ideally six—months should one or both of you lose employment. Remember to put this money into an interest-yielding savings or money-market account.
5. Have a designated amount automatically deposited into your savings or money-market account every payday—ideally, 10 to 20 percent of your income before paying for essentials like rent, food, or even student loans. Automatic deposits are painless, because if you don't have the money in hand, you won't be tempted to spend it.
6. Discuss who'll pay the bills, and issues like how much each of you can spend without consulting the other. Do you need to tell him about every single shoe purchase? Not if you've discussed your monthly allotment. Purchasing a new Harley-Davidson...now, that's another story.
7. Once you have everything settled, it's time to invest in retirement funds like Roth IRAs and 401(k)s. Disability insurance is also a must, because it protects your income in case of sudden illness.