Money Matters

Before you marry, money is a critical topic to tackle. And after you marry, money is one of those things that can bring lots of stress, conflict, and worry, if you don’t deal with it well.

Can you tell, right now, how much debt, how many assets, and how many bills you have? Often we can’t. Yeah, we might have a vague idea of where things stand, but usually, it’s only a general feeling.

One way to keep yourself up-to-date is to do a monthly checkup—together as a couple—and it’s important for you to start doing this before you marry. Set aside an evening and figure out where you are, exactly. Make it pleasant—a nice dessert and coffee, a candle burning, soft music playing—and get down to business.

Lay out all your bills, statements, records, and anything else that will tell you what you owe and what you own. Then figure out how you can simplify this by organizing your paperwork, keeping it in one place, and consolidating anything you can.

Cancel anything that’s unneeded. Do you have a landline that you rarely use? Do you really need all the bells and whistles on your cable—or do you really need cable at all? Be ruthless, and do what you need to do to give yourself some wiggle room to breathe financially.

Last, get everything in order, and write down a master list of all you owe, all you own, where it is—everything that affects your budget.

Now your monthly checkups will be quick and easy. Simply update your master list, discuss the changes or challenges, and adjust your master list and files accordingly.

Congratulations! You’ve joined a small group of wise people who know what’s really going on with your money.

What financial issues do you struggle with the most? I’d love to know.

For more on preparing to marry, check out The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage.

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