smart spending

Couples' cash: managing money and marriage

Schedule money discussions
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Schedule money discussions

Set aside a regular time to discuss your finances as a couple. "Discuss progress on long- and short-term financial goals, major purchases and bumps in the road," Viceconte says. "The key is that the time is regularly scheduled and issues are addressed as part of an overall financial discussion.

"Too many couples end up discussing their finances after one party has opened the mail and found a large credit card bill or an overdrawn bank account. Those discussions are neither fun nor productive, and will never result in financial progress," Viceconte says.

It's important to share the work of budgeting, paying bills and handling finances. Otherwise, the person who handles everything could become resentful while the spouse who doesn't could be left without knowledge of the family's finances or accounts if his or her spouse becomes ill, dies or leaves the relationship.

But scheduled money discussions don't have to be drudgery. Ballou advises to make the time together fun by cooking dinner, opening a bottle of wine or getting a baby sitter who can take the kids to a movie while you divvy up financial responsibilities.


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