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Marion Syversen Marion Syversen
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Top five money mistakes couples make

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June is the most popular month for weddings. If you are in that happy coterie, I would love to help your union be as wonderful as possible. After 40 years of marriage, I could tell you lots of great tips on many topics. But as this is a money column, here are the top five money mistakes, in no particular order, commonly made that can ruin your relationship.

No communication For years you have been making decisions about everything in your life: money, job, vacations - all of it. Now there is this special someone who cares about you, worries and plans for you. You need to communicate big and little goals and dreams, spending and savings plans and all the important things of life. If you fail to communicate about money in this marriage, your relationship will flounder and may fail. Not sharing can result in hurt feelings, missed opportunities for good counsel and perhaps may eventually lead to keeping secrets.

Secrets This is a very big mistake married people make. Keeping hidden bills, debt, spending or savings is not a trait of a happy marriage. The trauma or fears of past relationships are not relevant to this present one unless by doing what you did before you ruin this happy union. Keep no secrets.

Opposing values The third mistake married people make is to have values that are not in line with one another. Is philanthropy important to you but not your beloved? That's going to be a problem when you make regular charitable donations and your spouse is annoyed by your giving. In so many ways having shared values is critical to a happy relationship. Your money trail shows exactly what you value. Make sure you are both on the same page.

One decision maker Seldom do both spouses in a marriage earn the exact same amount of money. What then sometimes occurs is that the person who earns the most money is deferred to in the relationship as the financial decision maker. That is a sure way to resentment and a lack of balance. You two together make a good team, and both of your ideas are valuable and needed. When there is strong conflict, which should be a rarity, look for creative solutions. But most decisions can be made - and should be made - together.

Magical thinking Magical thinking is the fifth money mistake that couples make. It is the thinking that believes that not having a plan will nevertheless magically result in plentiful retirement savings, abundance in the emergency savings account and no debt. Magical thinking is the belief that not having a budget will result in extra money at the end of every month. Magical thinking occurs in the absence of planning and is a good way to have financial chaos in your relationship.

As a woman happily married, but one who has made many marriage mistakes, my advice is not just from research. It is wisdom and experience and is given to you as a gift. Your job is to determine in your heart and mind that you will fiercely protect this union with good and pleasant decisions for love.


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