Money and Marriage: Avoid Problems Through Full Disclosure, Expert Says

Financial expert gives tips on preventing money problems.

Feb. 25, 2010— -- Arguments over money have led to many a divorce.

As Mellody Hobson said this morning in her appearance on "Good Morning America," there are ways to plan ahead and make sound retirement and investment decisions without risking your marital harmony.

Here are a few of her tips:

1. The best way to defuse most money problems is to communicate. Hobson says she gets a lot of letters from people who have found out that a spouse was hiding money or debts. She suggests that couples make every financial decision together. Once there is a realistic picture of the couple's finances, they should come up with a financial plan that outlines their long-term goals and what they need to do in order to save, invest and achieve those goals, she said. She added that couples should revisit their goals periodically, because priorities change.

2. If partners have tried and failed to reconcile their financial differences, they should seek help from a certified financial planner or money coach, Hobson said.

3. If one partner has a low credit score, that could prevent the couple from getting a loan on favorable terms -- or at all. Hobson said couples should devise a strategy for paying bills on time and in full, where possible. People who pay credit card balances in full should see an improvement in their credit score within six months.

4. Couples should designate a person who will be responsible for household finances. In most relationships, typically there is one person who is better at paying bills. On-time bill payment is critical to the preservation of a good credit score, Hobson said. Designating one person doesn't mean that the other is let off the hook, she cautioned. Both should talk about household expenses and how to pay the bills, she said.

Click HERE to read Mellody Hobson's advice on how couples should invest and save for retirement.

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