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Love is blind, so it’s said, but it might also be mute when it comes to money discussions.

Couples rarely talk finances during, or even before, their engagement, according to experts, but to increase the odds of making happily ever after a reality, talking about finances needs to be done prior to saying “I do.”

According to a recent National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) poll, discussions about take-home pay, debt-load or credit scores are often overlooked by couples. In fact, more than two-thirds of respondents hold negative attitudes toward discussing money with their fiancé, the poll says.

Talking about money can be uncomfortable and can likely lead to a fight or reveal financial issues they weren’t aware of, respondents admit, making them shy away from the talk. Another 5% say it could well cause them to call off the wedding.

Talking frankly about money and financial planning can help couples from becoming part of the 50% of marriages that end in divorce and might well be worth that 5% risk, says KoonsFuller family law and divorce attorney Sherri Evans, chair of the family law section of the state bar of Texas.

While money can’t be blamed as the sole cause of divorces, experts agree it is often at the core of marital issues.

“It’s fascinating that couples get naked before they get married but not reveal their financial circumstances,” says Susan Reach Winters, a family law and divorce attorney at Budd Larner. “Despite the high divorce rate, people don’t think.”

Meshing Money Personalities

How you’re financially wired makes a huge difference on how money will be handled in the partnerships. Individuals may hold different attitudes about spending and saving and a marriage between a tight-wad and a spendthrift could be headed for disaster, says NFCC’s Gail Cunningham.

Couples may be so in love they are willing to look the other way over money differences, but they will eventually surface. “They say ‘everyone’s dysfunctional; I can live with dysfunction.’ We can figure out a way to co-exist,’” Cunningham says.

The person who saves versus one who spends has a different set of expectations and goals, claims Evans. The young lawyer who wines and dines people to bring in clients may spend like crazy and is okay with working until she’s 75. But what happens if her husband makes a nice living and actively puts money aside to leave the workforce early? “Whose American dream are we talking about anyway?” claims Evans. “A couple should have the same dreams and the same expectations.”

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Posted 12:01 PM

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