Did you know that the
"M" word (Money) is cited as one of the major reasons for
divorce? That's probably where the term "Irreconcilable
Differences" originated. Couples have been fighting about money
forever. If you go into marriage or co-habitation with your eyes open, you
will have a more successful relationship in the long run.
It's better to find out now if
your soon to be spouse is a spendthrift. Many a blessed union has been
spoiled by excessive spending and bad credit. You know all those flowers
and candy and nights out for dinner and dancing? Can he afford it or is it
draining his finances? Does he have any savings? What about an IRA
or 401K? What about you? Have you made plans for the future? Discuss your
goals and plans with your mate. His goal might be a speedboat or a Harley
Davidson, while you have your heart set on the house with the picket
Does she go on shopping binges? Can she afford those $150.00 shoes? Does
she has 5 or 6 Gold Credit Cards. Are they all maxed out? Have either of
you claimed bankruptcy or are slow to pay your debts? Have there been
prior marriages? If so, then is one of you required to pay alimony or
child support? For how long? Did the ex run up bills and then skip out? If
so, your significant other may be responsible.
You should also decide ahead
of time how you, as a couple, are going to handle your finances. Are you
both going to deposit all your money into one account and then pay the
bills, etc and then whatever is left over, you jointly spend? Or are you
going to have separate accounts and each contribute equally? Or is it
going to be a percentage based on how much each makes? Who is going to be
responsible for budgeting and bill paying every month? What about
savings? How are you going to handle that? Will you both contribute equal
amounts to save for short and long term goals?
How do you feel about credit?
What do you consider too much? At what point do you say,
"Stop!"? How does he feel about that? What is his comfort level
when it comes to debt? Credit can be a wonderful thing, used carefully. It
can also be an albatross. The credit card companies, especially, make it
so easy to overspend. Cards arrive in the mail with $5000 credit limits.
You get invitations to get this card and that card and the interest rate
is only 2.9 percent!! Great deal, right? Read the fine print. The 2.9
percent interest rate is only for the next 3 or 6 months and then the rate
goes to 12 or 14 percent. If you are ever late paying your bill, it can
jump up even higher! Be careful. So many young (and old) couples get into
debt over their heads and end up with bad credit, or worse, end up having
to claim bankruptcy. Don't let this happen to you.
Obtain copies of your credit
reports. Go over the reports with a fine tooth comb. If there are any discrepancies,
write the agencies and explain what the problem is and ask them to remove
that item from your file or correct it. Trade reports with your
significant other. Sit down and go over each other's reports. Make sure
you each understand what you are getting into.
A couple with full knowledge of each others spending habits and
obligations will have a much better chance of avoiding