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Financial Literacy - Emergency fund
Sharon Epperson
Talking to your partner about money is critical, says the author of a new book about couples and money.
Creating an emergency fund

Interview: Sharon Epperson

When veteran journalist Sharon Epperson was ready to move her financial focus from "me" to "we," she had to do a lot of digging to find advice that addressed couples issues that were relevant to her lifestyle.

Here, the CNBC correspondent and author of a recently released book, "The Big Payoff: 8 Steps Couples Can Take To Make The Most Of Their Money -- and Live Richly Ever After," gives you the scoop on planning for your future in tandem and making saving a family affair.

At a glance

Talk it out
You write about financial surprises in partnership, disclosing that you unknowingly married someone who suffers from what you describe as monetary narcolepsy. How do you deal with these unavoidable discoveries?

One of the things that you have to do as a couple is realize that there might be some skeletons in the closet. Talk about finances as early as possible. Try to speak about it before you walk down the aisle. Figure out what your own financial goals are, what your personal financial situation is, and what debts you have. Ask your partner to do the same. It's important to then come together and see what your needs and your wants are.

If an issue comes up, try to remain calm. Whether it's bills or loans you didn't know about, whatever the case may be, you're not going to solve the situation by turning it into an argument. Use this opportunity to begin a conversation. Figure out what the debts are and create a plan to pay them off together. How much income do we have? You might say: "I didn't realize you made this much money, or that our expenses would be that high." Shift that to: "How do we pay off debt, pay the bills, and continue to save?" It's a tall order.

-- Posted: July 23, 2007
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