Getting married? Why you should discuss your finances now

(ARA) – Couples heading to the altar have a lot to think about. Planning a wedding is no small feat, but, as many people will tell you, planning for your life together beyond the big day is even more important. While thinking about the future is definitely exciting, you should also be sure to have a discussion with each other about topics like buying a home, merging your finances and managing debt.

If both of you have relatively low debt – or better yet, no debt – you should talk about the steps that you need to take to keep your finances in good order. Living debt-free is a great goal to have as a couple, and doing so will eliminate one of the major stressors of any marriage.

Having a frank conversation about your finances now can help prevent future marital conflicts about money. Consider these points for discussion with your fiance. Keep the tone of your conversation kind and understanding – it’s easy to get aggravated, but that won’t help anything in the long run.

* Should we combine our finances after getting married or keep them separate?
* What kinds of purchases do you think it’s appropriate to make with credit cards?
* How will we budget for major expenditures, like cars, vacations or home repairs?
* Who will be responsible for paying bills?
* Are you open to seeing a financial advisor or having an outside party prepare our taxes?
* What is the total debt load between the two of us and how will we address it?

When it comes to debt, make the conversation realistic, but optimistic as well. It’s important to ask tough questions like why you got into debt and what could happen if you don’t deal with the situation. Those answers can help paint a clearer picture of how you’re going to start paying down your debt.

But to give yourselves something positive to work toward, ask what living debt free would mean to each of you – or to you both, as a couple. Maybe it means you’d be able to afford the home of your dreams or take yearly vacations – those answers can be the inspiration that keeps you working toward being debt free.

Using a tool like Debt Wise, from credit reporting agency Equifax, can make the process easier to manage and enable you to get out of debt faster. Using the information that the agency already has from your credit card companies and other lenders, Debt Wise automatically prioritizes your debts into a plan designed specifically for you and updates as you make progress. Not only can it help you tackle your debt faster, it can also help you save on interest charges – giving you even more financial room to achieve your goals. For more information, go to