5 Financial Tips for Newlyweds


Disclose Everything

Don't be a dummy and hide your financial past from your spouse.
Don't be a dummy and hide your financial past from your spouse.
© iStockphoto.com/mediaphotos

Hopefully, you and your new spouse tell each other everything -- or just about. And hopefully you at least tell each other all of the important stuff and will continue to do so.

Guess what: Near the top of the list of "important stuff" is what you do, have done and will do with your money.

If you have financial skeletons, disclose them completely, and right away. Are you in debt? Do you have a bankruptcy in your past? Can you no longer afford the car you drive but can't bear to part with it?

Even basic, neutral fiscal traits ought to be shared in order to avoid major conflict down the road. What's your money personality? Are you a spender? A saver? Do you lean toward the risky or the safe side on the investment spectrum? Do you live within or at your needs? (Living above would probably fall into the "skeleton" category.)

These things will come out, so there's no point in keeping them secret. Reveal them now, when "How could you hide that from me?" is not part of the discussion.

It's not just an issue of honesty in your relationship, though. There are steps you can take in your new situation to make money matters more manageable. For instance, if you keep your finances separate until one spouse manages to raise his or her credit score, you may have the option of applying for loans solely in the more financially healthy spouse's name. Or, if one of you is a big spender and the other is a big saver, you can lay some ground rules early on and adjust your budget accordingly, which reduces the likelihood that one partner ends up feeling financially babied, stifled or insecure.

Which brings us to the next newlywed money tip ...