5 Money Talks to Have Before You Get Married

PHOTO: Before saying "I do," here are some financial topics the two of you should discuss.

You finally found your soul mate -- someone who is sympathetic, nurturing, loving and caring. You're ready to tie the knot. But before you say, "I do," can you honestly say, "We did?" No, I'm not talking about that. I am talking about the talk. Not the one about sex and family but rather the one about money and credit.

Buzzkill? Reality testing? Yes. However, you both need to talk about:

  • What do your credit reports say, and what do they say about you?
  • What are your respective credit scores?
  • How much debt is each of you carrying?
  • What would your combined debts look like?
  • Is your fiancĂ© a big spender or a saver?
  • If you're ready to take the big walk then it's time to have that talk and here's why it shouldn't be delayed until after the rings are slipped on your fingers and the limousine is racing to the wedding reception or the airport.

    The sooner both of you discuss your personal financial preferences, credit standings, individual spending habits and joint future goals, the sooner you can identify and hopefully avoid major problems.

    Most people recognize that money and sex are two major potholes that can trip up happily married couples and lead to a rocky road of conflict, distress and disputation. And, as you are now a couple, it's good to get into the habit of joint problem solving and negotiating so you can set the stage for a sustaining dialogue that fuels togetherness and intelligent conflict resolution.

    Public Enemy Number One: The Debt Trap

    Fact: The longer you can avoid plunging into debt and all of the traps that come with achieving instant gratification and overspending, the better you'll be prepared as a couple to save for the things you want, get ready for little bundles of joy, and build your retirement nest egg. In addition to the size of your investment accounts, the health of your credit is paramount.

    Unfortunately, many couples enter a marriage with credit baggage. Like a suitcase that is so stuffed all of the clothes can't be jammed into it, one spouse and sometimes both may have overspent in their previous lives, racked up significant debt and made mistakes that severely damaged their credit. While one partner's bad credit score won't damage the score of the other, it could inhibit their ability to jointly purchase a home or a car at an affordable price, and must be addressed as early in the relationship as possible.

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