3 Ways Couples Should Talk About Their Finances Help make money discussions easier with these three simple tips. BY BILL LIATSIS
Getting a handle on your finances starts with a candid conversation.
“ A great place to start the conversation is by discussing credit scores.”
Whether you’ve been married five days or five years, it’s never too late to start to have financial conversations with your spouse, because if you don’t start to have them now, when you go to make your next major purchase you may be in for a rude awakening. This can be a nerve-wracking conversation, but luckily there are some technologies available to make it easier to tackle the conversation and understand where you stand on topics such as budget, debt and progress.
When is the right time to delve into your spouse’s financial history?
It’s best to address the topic of money and finances early on and that means everything from salaries and spending habits to credit and debt issues. Wedding expenses alone can take a toll on a couple, not to mention major life purchases such as buying a home, car or even having children. With marriage comes a lot of financial decision-making and being honest with a clear line of communication from the get go will lead to the most responsible financial decision-making in the future.
Address the financial woes.
A great place to start the conversation is by discussing credit scores. This is important as it will influence most of the large purchases you’ll be doing as a couple. Next, identify the big debts with high-yield interests, which could be anything from student loans to past credit card debt. This leads to the next step, which is establishing monthly budgets to get spending under control and start saving. As a rule, try and pay down those high interest balances first, they're the ones that get people in the most trouble. For example, consolidate high interest credit card debt with a lower interest personal loan. This can save you thousands over the long haul in interest payments, and it will free up monthly income to pay down some other debts off faster.
How do you fix your money problems?
Money problems can be tough, but luckily we live in a day and age where the technology right in the palm of your hand allows you to fix you and your spouse’s financial problems. First, you can get a free credit check at CreditKarma.com. You should check this bi-monthly as you make progress with your debts. Second, platforms such as Mint.com let you manage and monitor your spending. I suggest reviewing your spending on a monthly basis, but don’t get caught-up in day-to-day obsessing. Finally, there are a range of online options to reduce your debts by tens of thousands of dollars. You no longer have to go into a major, national bank, which sometimes don’t give you a loan anyway. There are apps that give you instant refinance options from dozens of lenders in seconds. Be aware that many platforms require six-digit salaries and impeccable credit scores, but there are a select few that work with enough lenders that there’s a company out there for you looking to offer better interest rates on your home, car, student and personal loans no matter what your credit situation is.
The ongoing revolution in financial services offers couples a myriad of resources as they forge their way into a financial future together. Embrace all of the information at your disposal and have fun planning your future together. The path to financial success has never been paved with more resources than it is today, and it's all just a click away.
Bill is a marketing and technology executive and the CEO and Co-Founder of www.creditiq.com based in New York. His primary experience is in managing big data systems towards major marketing ends. He has created and managed forecasting and analytics systems that have driven millions in monthly marketing spend, hundreds of thousands of finance leads, and millions of 3rd party validations. Bill received his BA in Political Science and Economics from Binghamton University, and regularly finds himself around some of the best live music in New York.