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Marriage And Money: Why Saying What You Think About Finances Is As Important As Saying "I Do"

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CLEVELAND, June 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Even as the summer wedding season hits full swing, prospective marriage partners should set aside time for a clear accounting of their respective current financial situation and money management style.

Whatever an unvarnished view of finances lacks in romance is outweighed by the benefits.  Anxiety, arguments and anger about money matters does more damage to marriages than nearly every other factor, according to research by sources such as Kansas State University, the University of Michigan and the Association of Economic Research.

In addition, traditional money matters that can trip up matrimony, such as newlywed budgets burdened by unanticipated personal debt, can also be affected by challenges managing increasingly large student loan debt or challenges specific to serial marriages.

Prospective marriage partners can tackle major money topics – current financial situation and money management – in two stages. First, talk through current financials. The Association of Economic Research suggests the following topics:

  • Investments, including retirement funds
  • Income
  • Credit score
  • Debt, including credit cards, student loans, and all other loans or credit
  • Judgments, repossessions, and other credit blemishes
  • Monthly debt payments

Next, they can talk over how they manage money, including how they feel about money.  Some sample conversation topics:

  • When it comes to money, what makes them happy – shopping sprees or steadily growing savings accounts?
  • Could they care less about monthly budgets, or do they track every expense?
  • Are they "set it and forget it" investors, or do they pride themselves on managing their own portfolio?

With this information and understanding in hand – and by being flexible about each other's differences – couples can set realistic financial goals.

By mapping out how they will work together to meet shared financial goals, couples can gain confidence in the financial decisions they make now, and in the future.

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