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Pre-Marital Money Talks

Before you or a loved one says "I do," there are a few things you should know about their money habits.

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something ... green? That's not exactly how the saying goes, but addressing the "green" or money part of your relationship is necessary before marriage or cohabitation.

A recent Forbes article titled "What To Do Before You Say 'I Do'"advises that you need to know some specifics about the financial behavior of your future spouse or partner before you say "I do" or move in together. Here are four key questions from a new book discussed in the article.

Are You or Your Partner a Spender or Saver? The article recommends that you know just who you are when it comes to money decisions and who your partner is. Do you pay your credit card in full each month or carry a balance? Are you comfortable carrying debt, or do you insist on being debt-free?

How Comfortable are You and Your Fiancée with Risk? Do you think you are a risk taker when it comes to money? What about in your career? And about love? What is the most difficult type of risk for you to take - financial or emotional? Would a discussion about risk and a respectful, persuasive argument for risk made by your partner allay some of your fears in making a specific decision? Think about it.

Dig Deep on Money Issues: Check Your Credit History, Review Your Assets and Talk about Estate Planning. The article suggests that you share your past financial life. Remember your partner's credit history will join together and be a part of your own as you start a life together. Be prepared. The articlesuggests that you each create a list of all assets. Then, be sure to discuss retirement accounts, revocable living trusts, property owned prior to marriage, and make a plan. You don't need to be wealthy, and even young couples should have a plan. Talk to your estate planning attorney about applicable state and federal laws and put in writing how joint assets should be handled in the event something unexpected strikes either or both spouses.

Most couples fight about money, but being open and honest about money issues will go a long way in preserving your marriage.

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