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After you have made the big decision to get married, there are tons of other big decisions you need to make: Where will you live? When do you want to start a family? Should you combine your finances?
According to a survey conducted in 2010 by the National Endowment for Financial Education, 3 out of 10 married Americans who opted to combine finances claim that they have deceived their partner at some point concerning money. It does not need to be this way! There is always time to get on the right financial track as a couple, whether you are just starting out or have been together for ages.
Firstly, the two of you should sit down and have a frank discussion about money matters. Discuss both of your personal financial situations and determine if you want to maintain separate bank accounts, combine everything altogether or some combination of both.
Tally up the amount of debt each of you has brought with you into the marriage and decide whether each individual will bear the responsibility for paying it down or if the two of you will tackle those preexisting debts together. Whatever you decide, begin chipping away at the debt right away. Not only will it make it easier for you to borrow money for a home or car in the future, getting out of debt will also allow you more wiggle room monetarily.
Figure out how you want to handle household expenses. One method is to create a joint checking account into which each spouse makes a contribution for items like groceries and shared bills like rent and utilities.
Start saving as a couple ASAP. No matter how young you are, it`s never too early to start thinking about retirement. Things will only get more expensive as time goes on so it`s imperative that you begin saving now.
You need to build an emergency fund together to offset any unexpected expenses that may arise. Financial emergencies are a great cause of stress within couples and you can alleviate much of it by being somewhat prepared to face financial challenges when they present themselves. Sock away three to six months worth of living expenses. Put it safely into a savings account or money market account and then treat it as if it does not exist - it is there to be used only in an actual emergency.
Establish some investment goals together and map out your financial future. While nothing ever goes strictly according to plan, it`s important to have a plan in place. Get into the habit of saving up for big purchases such as vacations and furniture instead of simply running out and charging those things to a credit card.
Decide which one of you will be responsible for keeping track of, organizing and paying the household bills. If you have any credit card debt be sure that you pay more than the minimum each month and tackle the card bearing the highest interest first.
No matter what, you should do whatever you can to make sure that you don1t spend time arguing with your spouse about financial matters. Some ways to avoid doing so is to not keep secrets from each other - some spouses opt to overspend and then try to hide it from their partner. This is a bad habit to get into and can only lead to trouble. If you are not the one in charge of handling the bills, make sure that you are mindful of what you spend and stay in touch with the financial goings on within the household.