BOSTON (STL.News) – Discussing finances can be a challenging topic, especially with a partner you plan to marry. The more debt a couple has, the more likely they are to argue about money. Couples who are open and honest about finances are more likely to have a healthier and happier relationship. To help, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) explains seven tips on how consumers can talk finances with their future spouse.
“When young adults prepare to get married, it is important to have the discussion about their finances to ensure there are no secrets and they are both on the same page,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Be sure to discuss outstanding debt, money values, future purchase priorities, daily expenses, and how much you want to put towards your wedding.”
According to a survey by Dave Ramsey, couples who fight often about money have an average combined debt of $30,000. The survey also found that more younger couples are bringing debt into their marriage, with 86 percent of couples married for five years or less starting off with debt, compared to 43 percent who have been married over 25 years. Forty-eight percent of consumers with $50,000 or more in debt say that money is a big issue they fight with their spouse about, compared to 23 percent of those with less than $10,000 in debt.
1. Start slow – Start the conversation with easier topics, like financial goals. Consumers should talk about when they want to purchase a house, a car, or splurge on a trip. Once they start having these small conversations, consumers can slowly incorporate the topics of debt, assets, and credit history.
2. Listen and be understanding – This might be a simple tip, but it’s important. Talking about finances can make for an uncomfortable situation, and being extremely understanding and supportive when having the conversation can lead to open and honest discussion whenever money is the topic of conversation.
3. Agree to disagree – It is important to understand that every person views money differently. If consumers agree to disagree, their partner won’t resent them when it comes time to make a financial decision or hide purchases from them.
4. Talk about values – The price is only part of the story when it comes time to spending money. If a consumer or their spouse want the other to understand why they want or need a specific product, its important to discuss the value and why it is financially okay to purchase it.
5. Earning and spending money– Couples often focus on how much they are spending, saving or investing without any thought on how the money is earned. Talking about how money is earned is a vital part of the conversation. What if a consumer or their spouse want to work part-time, own a business, or retire early? This should be part of the discussion so there no surprises.
6. Spending habits – Consumers should take a deep dive into each other’s spending habits and see if there are any problem areas that they need to work on.
7. Responsibilities – There are many payments that consumers are responsible for, such as mortgage, rent, and cable bills. It is important to discuss who will be responsible for ensuring each payment is made on time.
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx