When making the decision to get married, couples should take time to discuss their financial future and plans. According to a survey by the Association of Bridal Consultants, more than 67 percent of newlyweds believe the most serious conflict in their first year of marriage is money.
“Getting married means combining two households into one. Your partner’s debt and credit score can have an impact on your financial future,” said Mary Brockhaus, Senior Vice President, M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group. “Before getting married, understand how much your partner owns in assets and how much he or she owes.” M&I offers the following financial advice to those preparing to promise “for richer or poorer.”
- Start Talking: The first step in combining finances is discussing money-spending habits and future financial goals. Getting on the same financial page will make it easier to work as a team to meet goals and save money.
- Manage Debt: It’s important for couples to have full transparency about debt. Put all debt, assets, and income on the table to discuss. This will create a clear picture of where you stand financially as a couple and help set priorities to eliminate debt.
- Create a Budget: Couples should create a tentative budget considering each partner’s income and expenses and revise this plan as priorities and income change.
- Open Joint Accounts: A joint bank account is a wise plan to manage household expenses such as the mortgage, utility bills and groceries. A popular method for many couples is the three-pot system. Couples have his, her and ours account. This allows for each person to use a personal account for discretionary spending while contributing to expenses.
- Start Saving: Make saving a priority from the beginning. A small amount of money in a savings account will grow and will provide a cushion for unexpected expenses.
- Plan for Retirement: Although you may be years away from retirement, saving is key. As a couple, discuss plans for retirement and determine how to get there. Plan early.
Above all, communication is the key to financial success. Money may be a sensitive subject in relationships, but it is wise to discuss small problems as a couple before they become major, financial issues in the future. Visit your local M&I branch for more information or visit www.mibank.com.
About BMO Harris Bank
Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 650 branches and approximately 1,350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank’s commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC.
BMO Harris Bank is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.