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How a talk about money can pay dividends for an engaged couple

When many young couples decide to get married, the very first action they take is to sit down and start planning for the wedding as soon as possible. While this is understandable given the importance of the event, experts are now encouraging these young couples not to forget the importance of taking the time to sit down and start planning for their financial future as well.

While the prospect of having to discuss financial matters -- savings, debt, retirement planning, etc. -- probably sounds about as romantic as executing a prenuptial agreement to these young couples, experts argue that it can go a long way toward helping them eliminate unwelcome surprises, understand one another's mindset regarding finances and, of course, steer clear of divorce.

First and foremost, experts advise young couples to set aside a block of time in which they can come together to discuss their individual finances, bringing along copies of important documents such as credit card statements, account statements and credit reports.

This full financial disclosure will serve to prevent surprises (i.e., a low credit score, staggering levels of student loan debt, etc.), allow the couple to know where they stand financially and formulate a plan of attack for the future.

Similar to having a young couple disclose their finances to one another, experts also advise that they take the time to craft a budget, which can serve to reduce any future fights over money (overspending, not enough saving, etc.) and establish a framework moving forward (joint account v. separate accounts, etc.).

While this may seem onerous, experts point out that many websites now offer basic online programs that allow couples to map their finances and determine areas where money could be saved.

Finally, experts urge young couples to set aside time to discuss saving for children and retirement. While this may seem like two topics that are very far off for a young couple, experts indicate that it's never too early to start planning. Early contributions to employer retirement accounts and 529 college-savings plans can go a very long way.

If you would like to learn more about divorce or other family law issues here in Texas, consider speaking with an experienced, dedicated and determined legal professional.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Financial issues to discuss before you get married," Daniel Lippman, September 29, 2013

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