October 21st, 2013

Should You Say “I Do” if You Are in Debt?


Should You Say “I Do” if You Are in Debt?

**Today’s guest post is contributed by Tahnya.**

You may be in the middle of your engagement bliss if you are one half of a newly engaged couple. You’ve already said YES, but before you say I DO it’s very important to sit down with your spouse-to-be and have “the talk.” …The money talk, that is.

If you have been dating your fiance for quite some time, you most likely already know about their financial habits, including what their financial goals are, how they choose to spend money, and if they save for the short and long term. But unfortunately this is not always the case.

I have a couple of clients who came to see me because they recently got engaged and now want to set a three-year plan to save for their wedding. As we sat together to discuss their monthly income and savings capabilities as well as open a new joint savings account, one of my clients quickly realized that her future husband couldn’t save as much money as she could toward the wedding because he is $15,000 in debt.

I was shocked to learn that this couple has been dating for almost two years and the subject of money never came up. I talk about money all the time with my friends, my family, and boyfriend, but maybe that’s because I am a financial planner.

Here are 3 tips to have the money talk with your future spouse – sooner rather than later

Discuss opening a joint bank account.

Making the financial decision to open a joint bank account with your partner says a lot about the status of your relationship. If someone is willing to trust you with their money, you may be ready to start your happily ever after. However, if your future spouse doesn’t want to share their money with you, there may be underlying issues in the relationship. Opening a joint bank account also lets you monitor your future spouse’s spending habits, which lets you know what you are getting into before saying I DO.

Test the waters with a short-term savings goal.

Some people are just spenders by nature. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad with managing their money, it just means they enjoy spending their money (hopefully on nice things). If your spouse-to-be is more of a spender than a saver, give them a short-term money goal such as saving for a vacation within the next year or two. This will help them learn to change their financial habits from spending to saving. Although you shouldn’t expect your spouse to change overnight, over time you can definitely make progress toward changing their financial habits.

Leave your wallet at home and see what happens.

As a financial planner, I always tell my clients that money always shows peoples’ true colors. When it comes to money matters, usually matters of the heart don’t matter. The next time you go out with your spouse-to-be, leave your wallet at home and see their reaction toward paying for your night out on the town. Maybe they will be resistant, maybe they will be more than willing, or maybe they will do the same thing to you next time – either way you will know where your soon-to-be spouse stands on money issues.

Bottom Line: Talking about money with your soon-to-be spouse may not be the most interesting or comfortable activity, but it may prevent uncomfortable/tense situations in the future. Good luck!


Tahnya Kristina is a certified financial planner and personal finance blogger at Dinks Finance. She enjoys helping people land their dream job, achieve financial success and find personal happiness. Drop her a line and say hello on Twitter @TahnyaKristina.

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January 17th, 2013

Would You Go Back in Time to Improve Your Credit Health?

Would You Go Back in Time to Improve Your Credit Health?

How many times on this blog have we written about our past mistakes turning into lessons? Let’s take a look. I wrote about how my past relationships actually led to great money lessons. Justine wrote about how a simple error of timing cost her big and what she learned from her first speeding ticket. Guest contributor Kristina talked about recognizing problems and then correcting them in “A Second Chance at Financial Freedom.” And Ezra even shared the things we can learn from the one big mistake that is Jersey Shore.

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September 28th, 2012

Self-Improvement Month Wrap-Up

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This month, we've been talking about self-improvement steps for your credit and finances. Although the "official" self-improvement month of September is coming to an end, we hope these posts have inspired you to work on your financial health year-round. Thank you to everyone who contributed guest posts-- we couldn't have done it without you, and we definitely learned a lot from your tips, stories, and advice.

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September 27th, 2012

A Second Chance at Financial Freedom

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Almost everyone has experienced financial difficulties at some point in their life. Whether you are a struggling student who lives on a budget, a single parent who is trying to do the best for your kids, or you are a young professional who is struggling to pay off your debts; the truth is that almost everyone can improve some aspect of their financial lives.

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August 15th, 2012

How Your Credit Score and Banking Are Linked

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Many people know that they need a bank account because they need somewhere for their pay to be deposited and they need to pay bills each month. Many people also know that they should have a credit card and use it responsibly because it helps them build a strong credit history and a good credit score; but not many people know that their banking relationships can also affect their personal credit score.

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May 31st, 2012

Your Personal Finances Start with Your Credit Score

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Some people think that their credit report is only important if they want to know their credit payment history and some people think that their credit score is only important if they want to know the numerical value that determines their credit worthiness, but this is not necessarily true. Your credit report and your credit score actually both contain a lot of useful information which can help people learn about their current financial situation as well as their personal financial habits.

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