Posted On: 2006-11-13
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The couple that undertakes financial planning together, stays together. Or so the experts say. Hear how you can tie the knot and tie up any financial loose ends at the same time in this Fidelity Personal Finance podcast.
One of life's most moving expressions of love is of newlyweds filled with affection for each other and optimism for the future. Rob and Sherry Padgett, who were married in 2004, typify the image of flourishing love by taking turns reading to each other in the evening. But, it wasn't the sonnets of Shakespeare or Browning that the Padgett's chose to read. Instead, it was a book on financial planning. How romantic, hey? Well, maybe not. But, considering that disagreements over money can be a major cause of marital strife, the Padgett's nightly sharing of ideas on how to approach their finances should give them a solid foundation for a lasting union. Rob Padgett is an actor, model, and website design company owner from Atlanta. He's 32 years old, and he put it this way:
We thought it was important to get on the same page about how we were going to handle our money, and it really opened up the lines of communication between us so that we were comfortable talking about money right from the start. Now that's part of our regular conversation.
Marriage counselors and financial planners agree that opening up a financial dialogue should be a priority for a newly married couple. Indeed, for any couple that wants to turn money into a means to achieving their shared dreams. Every couple's approach to personal finances will be slightly different, but, says Betty d'Angelo, a financial planner from Durham, North Carolina and a newlywed herself, the important thing is to start with an honest discussion. Money is really a values issue. So when you talk about how you're going to manage it, you're really talking about what's important to you. Those are conversations that you have to hold in a calm and a rational way, not when you're arguing over the credit card bill. It's all part of getting to know each other. Before you begin plotting your financial strategies, you have to agree on what you want your money to help you accomplish. Setting goals doesn't mean you can't adjust your course as your priorities and situations change. But knowing where you're going gives purpose to your financial plan. Diane McCurdy, a certified financial planner, and author of the book How Much is Enough, suggests, "I recommend that each person do a wish list separately. That way you can each be creative and not hold back because you want to make the other person happy. Then, put together your lists, and come to an agreement about what's most important." Rob's wife, Sherry, age 31, says Rob's financial discipline help her establish her own set of priorities when it came to saving and paying down her debt.
When Rob and I got together, I was making good money, but I was spending way too much and trying to keep up with my credit cards. Rob was debt free and was saving money. I said, wow, how are you doing this? He definitely inspired me.
Young couples will have a variety of goals, from buying a house and getting new furniture to starting a college savings plan for future children, and accumulating a retirement nest egg. Each requires a different savings and investment approach...