While that pre-wedding engagement period can be filled with romantic notions and starry eyes, it's also a good time to get some practical discussions started. Money causes problems in more marriages than most anything else, say all the experts — along with anyone who's been married for even a little while. The best way to be prepared when money issues arise is to start talking about finances before you get married. Be up-front about everything, including your debt, savings, income, and spending and saving habits.
Once you've got that out of the way, talk about how you'll manage money as a couple. Will you have a joint checking account, separate accounts or both? At what spending level does a purchase need to be discussed: $100, $500 or more? Who will handle the bill-paying, and how much will each contribute if you have separate accounts?
Getting the often awkward money talk started before the wedding will help your first year of marriage go more smoothly. And our list of the 10 biggest expenses a couple can look forward to in the first year — presented here in no real order — offers a great set of topics for kicking off what will be an ongoing financial conversation with your spouse. So, let's get started.