Conversations When You’re Engaged

Love, Valentines Day, Engagement
While money is a primary cause of marital strife, a current Ameriprise study found that nearly seven in ten couples say they have good financial communication. Before wedding planning kicks into high gear, make conversations about your financing a priority. Taking the time today to speak through money matters can create a solid foundation for your collective future. Use the following six principles to guide your money conversations:
Open-minded. Take turns sharing your vision for cash management as a married couple. Listen carefully to what your prospective spouse says is important to him or her. Acknowledge your gaps and build on your strengths. If your expectations do not match up, try to find a compromise. Some couples sidestep discussions about money to avoid feelings of hurt, fear, anger or remorse. Creating a habit of frequent communication might help you avoid heated arguments, and can help ensure you’re on the same page financially before you walk down the aisle.
Honesty. Financial secrets can destroy trust. Share the specifics of your financial history and current situation in case you haven’t already done so. Disclose the fantastic news, too. Divulge details about savings you have tucked away or a family trust that will help supplement your income so you both know the amount of where you stand.
Forward-thinking. As soon as you’ve shared your current situation and history, discuss your goals for the future. Be open about what your fantasies are, but be ready to compromise. While you don’t have to agree on everything, having shared goals (buying a home, saving for college if you decide to have kids, retirement, etc.) allows you to combine forces on economies and offers you a road map for paying.
Cooperation. To avoid any miscommunications as newlyweds, talk and assign responsibility for monetary functions. Is one of you better at tracking online accounts and paying bills? Are you enrolled in a retirement account and taking maximum advantage of employer contributions? Who will be the primary contact for your financial adviser, tax professional or estate planner? Two is better than one when you’re able to divide and conquer financial jobs, but be sure you’re both in the loop on key decisions and money matters.
Diligence. It takes discipline, but taking care of those housekeeping tasks immediately protects you in case something unexpected happens. Several steps to consider:
• Update financial accounts, insurance policies and credit cards with any name changes, and if needed, add your spouse as an owner and beneficiary to those balances.
• Consider combining your bank accounts if it makes sense for your circumstances.
• Update or write your will and estate plan to reflect your collective wishes.
• Amend your tax withholdings, to ensure that the perfect amount is withheld from your paycheck that you’re married. Consult your tax professional before making modifications.
• Choose your wellbeing insurance. If both of your companies offer health insurance, carefully assess your coverage options and premiums for the best fit.
Like most things worth achieving, preparing for a lifetime of financial compatibility requires work. If you and your future spouse can commit to the same money values, it may help you create a solid financial base.

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