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Marion Syversen Marion Syversen
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Wedding day green

June 12, 2013
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Marriage is a delight. And the month of June has been for centuries the most popular month for weddings. 

So if you're getting married, what do you need to know about tying the financial knot? Here are a few things to consider as you two become one.

Planning is half the battle  Everybody is different, and our paths to this wonderful event vary. But hopefully you have talked with your honey at least a bit about money and your general goals. If you haven't had detailed conversations, may I suggest that you talk more now, as a couple. 

Talking about how you have handled money in the past and your general life goals will give you each some idea of where you hope to grow in the future. But plans change. My husband and I have been married for almost well, for a very long time. Life is in some ways better than we planned and dreamed, and in other ways not as good as we'd hoped. 

What things might you discuss? What do you both think about debt and savings? How do you feel about career and family? What are your priorities for life? I need you to recognize, in case you think differently about this, that you shouldn't believe you will change him, or her. Have a firm handle on what your honey thinks and their life goals. 

Knowing what is most important to your love matters. And if I could give you any life advice, and with it some money advice, too, I would say that though life has brought my dear one and me many surprises (not all of them delightful), our priorities have remained very close to what they were when we met when I was 19 years old. So know each other. It will matter for life.

Keep communicating  Wedding day comes and finally you are really together! Congratulations! How do you manage your finances now that you are a couple? Please don't be like many people who lie about their spending to their spouse. 

You might be surprised to learn the number of those who hide or outright lie about their finances. Studies show that there are significant numbers who are not forthcoming about their spending habits. Come on, now. You know that's not a formula for successful union. How can lying lead to a happy outcome? 

Revisit that talk you had about goals, and be open about spending. Keep talking about your united plans and dreams and do the work of realigning them as circumstances change. If you need conflict resolution, get it! As a practical matter, you either fix this problem or believe that by avoiding it you will make it go away. Trust me when I tell you it won't go away. 

Various approaches  As to putting your finances together, be assured that there are several approaches you may take. Millions of other couples have faced similar conditions, so be assured this will all work out. You simply have to find the way that works best for you. 

Some couples choose to split expenses and savings as a percentage of the joint amount of total income. He makes 30 percent of what she brings home, so he pays 30 percent of the bills. Another method is for each person to choose what bill to pay, and every month that bill is their responsibility. For others it's all-for-one-and-one-for-all, with money completely combined. Remember that you are a team now. You are no longer single and your finances should reflect that union. But there are many options available for you as you link your finances.

Meet regularly to discuss any problems or concerns. Make sure things are going smoothly. Don't hide your head in the sand and ignore the money. You are both adults and need to behave as adults, at least about your money.

What's right for you  When it comes to combining your income, that's your decision.

Just remember this: one of the biggest reasons for divorce is folks fighting about money. Don't let that be your fate. Take control. Work it out. Fight for this love. You both love each other too much to ignore the topic of money.

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