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Financial considerations before marriage

If there is one thing that is anticipated as fall approaches, it is the holiday season. Retailers look forward to Black Friday, children look can see Christmas on the horizon, and perspective brides wait with anticipation for their beaus to ask them to say “I do”.

Okay, it may all seem a bit cynical, but this type of anticipation builds every year, and with respect to newly engaged couples, it brings about a new (yet overlooked) sense of responsibility. When couples promise to join their lives together for better or for worse, they also promise to join their financials together as well. However, they commonly do not realize (until it is too late) that there are important questions about money to ask before heading down the aisle.

How are you about budgeting? – Unless you’re an accountant, budgeting is no fun. Just think about the two-week political tantrums lawmakers had setting a budget that only will last for half a year. If you and your soon-to-be spouse clash over budgeting, this could be a red flag.

Do you have student loans? – Student loans have become an unfortunate part of life for many recent graduates, as they struggle to find suitable employment to pay them off. A monthly student loan payment could prevent a young couple from realizing some of life’s major purchases, including a home or a new car.

Will you combine finances – While couples are increasingly focused on “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours” there are certain bills that will need a couple’s combined resources (such as a mortgage and utilities). Engaged couples should take time figure out how joint bills will be paid. 

Source: WSJ.com, Financial issues to discuss before you get married, September 29, 2013 

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