Marriage injects us with a reality for which we might be unprepared. “What?! My partner’s maxed-out Visa is now my problem?” Yes, you married a loving partner who shares your passion for geocaching, but you also married his college loans, credit card debt and overspending habits. Granted, it’s not your idea of pillow talk, but getting intimate is about more than buying sexy lingerie. It means baring your accordion files and laying down your statements to reveal all your dirty debt. Cozy up to the idea that a little post-nuptial planning and a ton of honesty can help cast aside some newlywed nuisances.
The Naked Truth
A credit check for a mortgage application will reveal your financial past anyway, so you might as well bare yourself and talk about your debt ahead of time. Sit down with your partner before entering into any major investments and itemize your expenses. Additionally, be direct about where your priorities lie in terms of savings. Being honest about your financial goals from the start will prevent embarrassment later.
Get down to the nitty-gritty and ask yourself: Do I really believe I can keep my designer jeans habit a secret till death do us part? Probably not. So you better start revealing the dirty details of your spending habits now. For better or worse.
Budgeting for groceries and mortgage payments is a no-brainer. But newlywed financing tends to devalue items like retirement funds, life insurance and savings. Sure, it’s hard to imagine canasta and shuffleboard games now, but global investment management firm T. Rowe Price insists it’s never too early to start saving. Life insurance protects your loved ones’ financial security in the event of your passing. Savings allowances protect against suffering life’s surprises -- from the catastrophic, like employment layoffs, to the inconvenient, like engine failure.
Plan for the Long-Term
Once you account for your total monthly bills and budget, you both should discuss your investment options. Your financial institution can assist, but Forbes recommends doing your own research. Discover the investment options that offer the greatest return for your long-term plans, and you can both cozy up to a long life of financial security.
Vanessa LaFaso Stolarski has 14 years experience in publishing and 17 years in the restaurant industry. She has served as food and wine editor for a Washington, D.C.-area newspaper company, and managing editor for "Northern Virginia" magazine. As founder of The Locavore Project-WV, she works with sustainable farms to promote consumer awareness and whole-food nutrition.