"Opposites attract. That's what
makes it exciting," says Ruth L. Hayden, a financial
educator and author of "Richer for Poorer:
The Money Book for Couples." But "when it comes
to money, we wish we were married to a clone."
Talk about what works for you and why. Discuss how financial decisions
will be handled as a couple. How will household expenses be divided? Will you
agree to consult each other before making purchases of $100 or more? Or is $500
a more realistic limit?
Experts also urge married people
to continue to pursue individual goals, whether it's getting another college degree,
sprucing up that work wardrobe or taking a photography class.
person should have their own individual play money," Dunnan says. "You
shouldn't have to give up everything or consult each other on everything just
because you're married -- because you're both individuals."
talk before pillow talk
While it may not be the most romantic thing
to crunch numbers with your honey amid the hubbub of wedding plans, it can save
you a lot of stress later. Postponing money talk may only make things worse.
doesn't get ignored when you get into a marriage. It tends to compound itself,"
Green says. "It's like the clash of the Titans."
suggests couples talk money and debt before they send out the wedding invitations,
especially if they're footing the bill themselves.
should talk about it early because it could have an impact on how much they spend
on the wedding," Dunnan says. "They may need to downsize the wedding."
With average wedding costs topping out
near $20,000, it's easy to see why so many couples start
their life together in the red.
a lot of money for one day and a honeymoon," Dunnan says. "They can
be paying for it three or four years into the marriage. It's not a good way to
Green recalls one couple who decided at the last
minute to go all out and serve champagne and caviar at their wedding. Even though
their parents helped pay for the wedding, by the time the couple returned from
their honeymoon, they owed $40,000 on their credit cards.