Chicago, IL – July 14, 2010 - Summer is the most popular time for weddings; however, even before the ceremony, couples should take time to sit down and get serious about money. The Better Business Bureau advises newlyweds to take control of their finances or the walk down the aisle may lead to a rocky financial future.
According to research, married couples that frequently fight over money are more likely to split up. Even when compared to frequent fights over other issues—such as chores, sex and in-laws—fighting about money was a better predictor of a future divorce.
“When considering your financial future, it’s important for newlyweds to realize that saving for a future can be a rewarding experience— not just a source of frustration,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Have the conversation earlier so you can develop healthy personal finance habits together.”
In order to start a new life together on the right financial foot, the BBB offers the following advice:
- Let Financial Skeletons out of the Closet. After marriage, any personal debt becomes “our debt” and it’s important to sit down before and discuss what outstanding obligations exist on both sides including car loans, school loans and credit card debt. Review your credit reports to get a better idea of what you are both bringing to the marriage.
- Build a Budget. After you’ve gotten a grasp on your debt, it’s time to build a monthly budget. Look at your monthly bills to create a realistic picture of how you spend. Discuss your long term goals—such as buying a house or car and having kids—and figure out how much money you need to set aside every month to reach those goals.
- Designate a Driver but Travel Together. In order to avoid confusion, one person should be assigned to paying the bills every month. This doesn’t mean that the other person takes a back seat role in managing the finances. Have frequent discussions about your financial progress in order map your path and nip any bad spending habits in the bud.
- Plan for Emergencies. Young couples may fail to save money to get them through hard times such as health problems and unexpected unemployment. Experts recommend you set aside three to six months of salary in a rainy day fund—ideally an interest-bearing account that can be easily accessed.
- Save for the Future. Retirement may seem like a long way off to newlyweds, but setting aside money now means reaping big rewards later on. Take advantage of both employers’ retirement matching programs—if available—or set up individual retirement accounts.
- Make a Vow to Be Savvy Consumers. Many families have had their life savings decimated after becoming a victim to fraud or identity theft. Visit your BBB’s website at www.chicago.bbb.org to find trustworthy businesses and learn how to protect your identity.
For more advice on managing your money, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.