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All You Need is Love and a Financial Plan

Marquette Bank, a locally-owned neighborhood bank, reminds couples that taking the next step is not only a marriage of hearts but also a marriage of finances. As spring blossoms, engaged couples should make sure they discuss their personal finances and attitudes toward money prior to walking down the aisle.

“It's no secret that people can become blinded by love, but if you stick to a plan, your financial situation doesn't have to be impaired,” said Betty Kosky-Harn, Executive Vice President. “While we don’t suggest you bring this topic up on a first date, talking about your financial habits, outlooks and plans with your partner is a critical step in building a strong financial foundation on which to maintain a long-lasting relationship.”

An important component of any romantic relationship is a solid financial footing. Marquette Bank suggests that couples discuss the following:

1. Be mine, or yours? Will you and your spouse-to-be keep finances separated or combine them? Consider individual money styles and find a system that works for you.

2. Love’s Cost. Calculate costs and discuss how bills will be paid. Both may contribute to the bill payment, but you must decide who will physically write the checks to pay the bills, what bills will be paid online, and who will monitor the investments and take care of the taxes. Consider setting a date every month to review and discuss finances.

3. Sharing Credit. It’s important that spouses are aware of the others’ credit situation. Marrying a person with bad credit will not drag down your stellar record. However, your other half’s credit will be factored in when applying for joint financing. Knowing ahead of time will help you to plan more strategically.

4. Cupid's Arrow. Couples should develop a plan to shoot down existing debt, starting with the balances that carry the highest interest rates. Whether or not the pair works as a team or alone, debt must be tackled.

5. Sweet Savings. Saving as a couple fosters teamwork and is essential in times of financial hardship. Decide how much you want to save as a couple and do it automatically from your paychecks. Be sure to set money aside for emergencies. Discuss your goals. When will you buy a house? What do you want to do in retirement? Talk about wants, needs and must haves.

6. Beautiful Budgeting. Know your monthly expenses and your monthly income. Plan out budgets for entertainment, shelter, food, utilities, transportation and monthly bills like internet, phone and cable. Is a weekly date night a priority in your budget? Everyone is different and it is better to know that your future spouse must have a daily whipped skinny chocolate frappuccino latte to start the day. You can build it into the budget early on instead of fighting about it later on.

7. Happy Habits. Each person grows up in a family with different attitudes and approaches to money. Some people are savers and some people are spenders. We all have our own money habits. Tell your partner how your parents managed money, how you save, what you spend on and your experiences with finances. Build positive money habits together to ensure a solid financial foundation for your marriage.

Use these tips as a starting point to open a financial dialogue and avoid money becoming a source of relationship stress or divisive issue in your lives together.

Marquette Bank provides free financial reviews for individuals, couples and business owners. The bank helps develop simple financial plans to help you track expenses, build a monthly budget, save for a home, pay for a child’s education, develop retirement strategies and manage income after retirement. For more information on Marquette Bank’s free financial planning, drop by any of Marquette Bank’s 24 locations or call 1-888-254-9500.

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