Money in Matrimony

Couples advised to discuss finances before heading to altar

Los Angeles TimesFebruary 17, 2013 

MARRIAGE ILLUS.jpg

200 dpi 63p x 77p Rick Nease color illustration of a bride and groom wedding cake figurine set on a stack of coins against a background of money. Detroit Free Press 1999 ____With MARRIAGE, Knight Ridder by Lorene Yue____Companion KRT News in Motion animation is available on this subject.

RICK NEASE — KRT

Did you get an engagement ring this Valentine’s Day? You might want to ask how much debt your partner went into to buy it. Couples taking the plunge need to consider their financial compatibility, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Start by discussing these key issues:

How much debt does each of you have? Before you tie the knot, lay it all out for your partner to see: what you owe on credit cards, vehicle and student loans, and any other debt. “Don’t hide anything, as that’s really getting off on the wrong foot,” the foundation said.

Review each other’s credit scores and credit reports. “Each person has their own report and score, but knowing who is in better shape financially can provide direction when making large purchases down the road.”

Does your spouse-to-be’s approach to saving match yours? Discuss what you consider worth saving money for, whether it’s retirement, a home, sending children to college or a dream vacation. “It’s fine to have your individual goals, but it’s also important to have family goals too,” the foundation said.

Consider your own and your partner’s spending habits. Will each of you have your own money to spend? How much can you spend without checking with your spouse? Who will be responsible for household expenses? “It’s important to be honest and realistic, or any plan that you develop is sure to fail,” the foundation said.

What will you do if relatives or friends ask for a loan? “This question is sure to come up over the course of a lifetime together, so it’s best to firm up the answer prior to an emotional situation,” the foundation said.

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