Everyone has dreams.
Buying a summer cottage in New Hampshire.
Cruising around the world just to see what a
sunrise looks like in Fiji.
Giving up the rat race at an early age and motoring
around the country.
But when it comes to melding the wishes of two
people into one life plan, financial consultants and counselors
say compromise and understanding are essential. Whether a married
couple is just looking for a first home or planning the perfect
retirement together, respect for each other's wishes and a frank
discussion about spending and saving priorities can help get them
"I'm one that believes very strongly
that anything is possible," says Carol Nowka, a
retired Certified Financial Planner in Grand Island,
Neb. "It just depends on how much you're willing
to sacrifice to make that happen."
purchases can mean big headaches
Purchasing decisions cause some of the biggest headaches for married
couples and they only get more complicated when thousands, rather
than dozens, of dollars are involved. People have their own wants
and needs, and sometimes they aren't used to the idea of working
with someone else to satisfy mutual goals.
Yet none of this has to stand in the way of
a successful relationship -- as long as couples approach large financial
The first step to getting into a new home, for
example, should be a frank discussion around the apartment's kitchen
table rather than a visit to the nearest mortgage company's Web
"The home is probably the largest item they
will purchase," says Peggy W. Fellouris, a New Bedford, Mass., marriage
counselor and divorce mediator. "I talk to clients about whether,
'Do you want to be in the house for two years or four years? What
kind of a lifestyle do you want? Have you finished your education
and are you starting a career? Or are you simply at a job and you
don't want it to be a lifestyle for the future?'"
"One thing that's very important
in a marriage is that you eliminate as many stresses
as possible," she says. "Finance becomes a
very strong topic and it can easily become a stress
if it's not handled right."
attitudes shaped in childhood
Some specific problems couples can watch out for and avoid relate
to upbringing and personal goals. By figuring out where each partner
is coming from, husbands and wives can dodge conflicts over what
type of house to buy and how far they should stretch themselves
to pay for it.