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Monday, September 15, 2008

Money Does Make the ... Marriage Go Round

Recently the New York Times published a need-to-read article for anyone contemplating marriage, or even moving in together.

The Key to Wedded Bliss? Money Matters

"Marrying a person who shares your attitudes about money might just be the smartest financial decision you will ever make. In fact, when it comes to finances, your marriage is likely to be your most valuable asset — or your largest liability.

Marrying for love is a relatively recent phenomenon. For centuries, marriages were arranged affairs, aligning families for economic or political purposes or simply pooling the resources of those scraping by.

Today, while most of us marry for romantic reasons, marriage at its core is still a financial union. So much of what we want — or don’t want — out of life boils down to dollars and cents, whether it’s how hard we choose to work, how much we consume or how much we save. For some people, it’s working 80-hour weeks to finance a third home and country club membership; for others, it means cutting back on office hours to spend more time with the family."

In a later part of the article a number of guidelines are set down for couples contemplating marriage:

TALK AND SHARE GOALS

Before walking down the aisle, couples should have a talk about their financial health and goals. They should ask each other tough questions: Do we want children? When? Who will care for them? Will they go to public or private school? What kind of life do we want? When will we retire?

“In my ideal plan for couples, they would have a meeting every week on their finances,” said Karen Altfest, a financial planner who runs the New York firm L. J. Altfest & Company, with her husband, Lewis. “That way, they are in sync with each other’s goals.”

Other excellent suggestions this eye-opening article mentions are (each with detailed explanations):
  • RUN A HOME LIKE A BUSINESS

  • BE SUPPORTIVE OF CAREERS

  • ENJOY, BUT WITHIN REASON

  • USE A MEDIATOR

  • MAINTAIN SOME INDEPENDENCE

  • INVEST IN YOUR MARRIAGE
Read the entire article

Photo: Blue Lagoon, Oludeniz Beach, Fethiye, Turkey

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