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