debt

Talk about money before marriage

It might be encouraging to your boyfriend (and a reality check for yourself) to lay out your plans for paying off your student loan and credit card debt.

If you fail to do this, your boyfriend is justified in worrying that if you marry, he will end up with the burden of paying your debt. Or, he may be concerned that waiting for you to pay off the debt will interfere with his vision of your future together.

Another item to discuss is how you see money. Is it something you spend, save or give away?

After you are standing on your own two feet and settled into a job -- but before you make any serious commitment -- you also may want to discuss how your day-to-day finances will be handled.

Will you have joint checking and savings accounts, separate accounts or a combination of the two? Who will be responsible for paying the monthly bills? Will you each work on them together, or will one of you take on that responsibility?

In today's society, living together may be acceptable, but merging finances or co-signing for each other before marriage is just plain folly. The newly updated second edition of my book, "Credit Repair Kit For Dummies,"has several sections on budgeting and goal setting for couples. I am going to send you a copy as a guide.

One last thought: Whatever you do, don't go into tens of thousands of dollars of debt for your wedding. If you want to have a lavish affair, con your parents into paying for it or begin saving now.

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