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Special section Love and money -- oil and water?

Both people in a relationship can't spend money with reckless abandon, which explains why savers and spenders frequently get together and then drive each other crazy.

Opposites attract -- even when it comes to money

Pick a non-stressful time to have these "structured money talks." So don't call a financial summit meeting just after balancing the checkbook or while you're deciding how much house you can afford.

Before you get married, pay off as many loans as possible. If you get rid of credit card and car loan debt before the nuptials, there will be fewer arguments about merging finances.

On the other hand, newlyweds shouldn't be too quick to merge their finances, Mellan says: "They are often tempted to, but there are all sorts of intimacy issues early in a marriage." Instead, newlyweds might want to have their own accounts as well as a joint account for common purchases and contribute to that account according to their proportion of earnings.

"A lot of women want separate money and I think they should have it," she adds. "They should have their own retirement fund, too."

Don't buy something as revenge. It hurts in the long run.

Talk about your shared dreams and draw up a spending plan. Don't call it a budget, Mellan says; that word intimidates spenders and money avoiders.

In your regular money chats, put your impressions on hold. Don't judge.

"Understand your differences and plan around them," Gurney says. Take equal responsibility for managing your money so both of you are informed. For example, if one person routinely pays the bills, the other should file the paid invoices (you do keep your paid bills in a file, don't you?).

Pay attention to patterns. What issues repeatedly crop up? What attitudes and emotions are creating the behavior?

Above all, the experts say that marital bliss on the financial front has little to do with how much money you have.

"More money won't solve most arguments," Hayhoe says. "Because if you don't change the underlying behavior, you'll end up with the same problems with more money."

Create a news alert for "savings"
-- Updated: Jan. 30, 2007
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