Now that you're newly married, it's a good idea to have a frank talk about your finances. Follow these steps to get the money conversation going—and cash in on a happier future.

1. Create a Vision

Does your "happily ever after" involve jetting off for a Jamaican vacation, or landing a mortgage ASAP? Whatever the dream, it's important to map out your future together. "Knowing what kind of lifestyle you want can help you create a plan," says financial guru Matt Bell, author of Money & Marriage. Write down a list of your short-term goals (a car, a new sectional couch) and long-term ones (a four-bedroom home in a nice neighborhood, a comfortably padded 401(k)). "You don't have to have every single detail figured out," says Bell, "but prioritizing will give you a better sense of how to budget and save."

Another important aspect: kids. Chances are you've already agreed on whether or not you want children, but you'll also want to address child-care and education costs. With the average price tag of raising little Alice coming in around $234,000—not including college!—it's never too soon to start planning.

Photo: Getty Images

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