Financial Questions to Settle Before You Get Married
There are only two kinds of people in this world, spenders and savers, and for better or worse they tend to marry each other.
So says longtime financial writer Terry Savage, who has co-written a new book on how to discuss and negotiate key money issues with your spouse-to-be, to give your relationship the best chance for success (‘The New Love Deal: Everything You Must Know Before Marrying, Moving In, or Moving On!’)
资深财经作家特里·萨维奇(Terry Savage)如是说道。她与人合作撰写了一本新书，讨论如何与准配偶讨论并协商处理一些重要的金钱问题，为双方的结合创造更大的成功机会。(新书名为《爱情新论：在结婚、同居或分手前必须知道的一切!》(The New Love Deal: Everything You Must Know Before Marrying, Moving In, or Moving On!))
While you probably can’t change your mate’s basic money personality, you can avoid arguments and hidden resentments by talking honestly about your finances and putting certain plans in place before you head down the aisle. With wedding season around the corner, here’s an Investing Basics checklist for people about to tie the knot:
‘The most important thing is to talk about your debts and to take an inventory of what assets each of you has, ‘ says Holly Kylen, a financial adviser with Voya Financial in Lititz, Pa.
宾夕法尼亚州提兹市(Lititz) Voya Financial公司的财务顾问霍利·凯伦(Holly Kylen)表示：“重中之重是讲明各自的债务，对各自名下的各项资产都盘点清楚。”
One way to start the conversation is to swap credit reports, preferably over a nice bottle of wine, says Ms. Savage. If your spouse-to-be is on the hook for student loans or child support, discuss whether and to what extent you’re willing to help bear the cost.
Credit scores are a source of stress in one in five marriages, but spouses who discuss credit scores before marriage are more likely to agree on how to use credit as a couple, according to a study about to be released by Experian Consumer Services.
Experian Consumer Services即将发布的一项研究报告显示，在各种婚姻危机中，信用记录导致的压力占到了两成。而婚前讨论过信用记录问题的夫妻，更容易就如何使用信用达成共识。
Next, decide how you’re going to handle the money. While it’s understandable that some couples, particularly older ones, prefer to keep separate accounts, at least at first, many financial advisers recommend working toward paying all joint expenses out of a joint account.
‘Marriage is complicated anyway, ‘ says Michael Eisenberg, an accountant and financial adviser in Los Angeles. ‘This is one easy way to simplify things.’
If you each earn an income, consider having your paychecks direct-deposited into separate accounts, then automatically transferring a certain amount–perhaps proportional to your income or to other obligations–into a joint checking account from which you pay your bills online, recommends Ms. Savage.
Set common goals
From there you might set up additional joint accounts for short-term (one to two years) and medium-term (three to five) goals, such as saving to buy a car or a house. This requires doing a little budgeting.
‘Both people need to be flexible, ‘ Mr. Eisenberg adds. Say you’re used to saving $200 a paycheck for a rainy-day fund, but your partner thinks that’s overkill. You might agree to instead save $100 plus part of any tax refunds or bonuses that come along. ‘The key to this is dialogue, ‘ he says.
Save for retirement
‘Make sure no one makes a dime without putting something away for retirement, ‘ says Ms. Kylen. You and your partner don’t necessarily have to save identical amounts. ‘Equal is not synonymous with fair, ‘ says Ms. Savage.
But you should coordinate how much you’re going to save and what savings vehicles you’re going to use. If one partner’s employer offers a 401(k) matching contribution, it probably makes sense for that person to contribute at least enough to qualify for the employer match.
Consider whether you’ll need insurance, and if so factor the premiums into your budget. ‘If you’re buying a home together you need life insurance, ‘ says Ms. Savage. Disability insurance can’t hurt either, says Mr. Eisenberg.
And don’t forget to change the beneficiaries on any existing insurance policies, as well as retirement accounts and so-called pay-on-death accounts, which supersede your will and go directly to the named beneficiaries.
Gay married couples need to be especially careful when naming their spouse beneficiary of an annuity. Since insurance is state-regulated, ‘same-sex couples today should not assume a spousal benefit [known as a ‘spousal lifetime income benefit rider’] will work, ‘ says Ms. Kylen, who recently married her partner of 20 years. ‘It would be best to have it in writing or to see same-sex language in your document just to cross your T’s.’
Consider a prenuptial
If neither you nor your partner is equipped to talk about financial matters, enlist the help of a close friend, relative, financial adviser or lawyer, says Mr. Eisenberg.