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Although many Americans have had to put their nuptial plans on hold, plenty of couples are still working towards their dream weddings — and everything that comes after. Any married couple will tell you that marriage is hard. It takes dedication, hard work, and love on both sides to make things work. Unfortunately, many couples struggle most with the financial aspect of their relationships. Whether you are newly married or are looking to tie the knot at a later date, discuss these five pieces of financial advice with your partner and get a head start on a financially healthy marriage.

Don’t Keep Secrets

Keeping secrets is detrimental to any relationship, but lies and secrecy can be particularly damaging when it comes to shared finances. Before you tie the knot, make sure to drag all of the skeletons out of your proverbial closet. Undisclosed debt, high credit card bills, and even hidden assets can start a marriage off on the wrong foot. Couples should strive to be open and honest in all areas, but especially with finances.

Financial Advice Isn’t “One-Size-Fits-All”

Some couples merge their finances, while some keep things completely separate. Others maintain both individual and shared accounts. While couples would be wise to seek financial advice from respected sources, they should take each tip with a grain of salt. Every couple is different, and what works for some may not work for all.

Collaborate On A Budget — And Stick To It

Few things are as frustrating as saving every penny but still going broke. In some relationships, one person’s overspending can land both parties in hot water. Work with your partner to create a realistic budget that you both can follow, and be sure to revise and adjust it regularly.

Be Transparent About Financial Goals And Expectations

Planning for the future can be fun, but couples can get so caught up in the fantasy of homeownership, wedding planning, and starting a family that they neglect to consider the financial tools necessary to facilitate those goals. Talk with your partner regularly to explore what you want from your life together — and don’t forget to address how much you are expected to contribute financially. 

Work Together On Estate Planning And Retirement

Finally, make sure to have all of your ducks in a row for retirement and estate planning. Nobody wants to imagine living without their beloved spouse, but accidents and illness are parts of life that must be accounted for. Discussing wills, insurance policies, and end-of-life care can be uncomfortable, but it is a necessity for couples. Seek financial advice together and go over your plans well before you need to put them into action.