SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

June 27, 2013 08:20 ET

BMO Harris Bank Financial Tip of the Week: Talk About Finances Before You Say "I Do"

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Jun 27, 2013) - As part of BMO Harris Bank's ongoing commitment to financial literacy and Making Money Make Sense, BMO Harris is providing weekly financial tips. This week's tips offer ways that may save you additional pre-nuptial stress.

When making the decision to get married, it is important for couples to take time to discuss their financial future and plans. Discussing your finances is very personal and can be stressful, even when sharing it with your intended. According to a survey by the Association of Bridal Consultants, more than 67 percent of newlyweds believe the most serious conflict in their first year of marriage is money. A 2012 FITNESS Magazine and Yahoo! Finance survey of both men and women confirms that money is the number one issue couples fight over.

Getting married means combining two households into one. Your partner's debt and credit score can have an impact on your financial future. Before getting married, understand how much your partner owns in assets and how much he or she owes. BMO Harris Bank offers the following financial advice to those preparing to promise "for richer or poorer."

  • Share Your Spending Habits: The first step in combining finances is discussing money-spending habits and future financial goals. Getting on the same financial page will make it easier to work as a team to meet goals and save money.

  • Have "The Talk": It's important for couples to have full transparency about debt. Put all debt, assets, and income on the table to discuss. This will create a clear picture of where you stand financially as a couple and help set priorities to eliminate debt.

  • Create a Budget: Couples should create a tentative budget considering each partner's income and expenses and revise this plan as priorities and income change.

  • Open Joint Accounts: A joint bank account is a wise plan to manage household expenses such as the mortgage, utility bills and groceries. A popular method for many couples is the three-pot system. Couples have his, her and ours account. This allows for each person to use a personal account for discretionary spending while contributing to expenses.

  • Start Saving: Make saving a priority from the beginning. A small amount of money in a savings account can grow and provide a cushion for unexpected expenses.

  • Plan for Retirement: Although you may be years away from retirement, saving is key. As a couple, discuss plans for retirement and determine how to get there. Plan early.

Above all, communication is the key to financial success. Money may be a sensitive subject in relationships, but it is wise to discuss small problems as a couple before they become major, financial issues in the future. Visit your local BMO Harris branch for more information or visit:

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank(SM) is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and $555 billion in assets (as of April 30, 2013).

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