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Love me, love my finances?

One likes to spend. The other wants to save. They plan on getting married soon. Will the fact this couple is out of sync when it comes to money create problems for them in the future? Maybe. According to a recent study, money is the number one cause of arguments among U.S. couples (37%).* Not being on the same page with each other about spending is another source of tension that can drive a wedge through many relationships. The same study found that 42% of those surveyed felt someone in their relationship spends too much money. If marriage is in your
future, here are five money issues you need to discuss before you tie the knot. These are also issues that should be discussed by couples that have been together for some time but who recognize signs of financial incompatibility between them.

Debt

Student loans can increase financial stress for newlyweds. Add rent, car payments and credit card debt, and there may be little left for discretionary spending or investing. Agree on a strategy for paying off your debt as soon as you can.

Credit

You'll both suffer if one of you has a low credit rating. It could be hard to get a mortgage or an auto loan at a good rate. Be consistent about paying all of your bills on time to boost your credit ratings.

Budgeting

Track your spending. Check out www.allstate.com for help creating a realistic budget. Decide whether you'll have joint or separate bank accounts and how you'll pay household bills. Remember to build a little "mad money" into your budget so each of you has money to spend at your discretion.

Short- and long-term goals

Together, figure out your financial needs and your goals for the next six months, year, five years, etc. If you don't agree, compromise and find a middle ground that satisfies both of you.

Responsibilities

Who's the better money manager? Who knows more about investing? Decide who is better qualified in each area and give those responsibilities to that person. However, it's important that you review household finances together on a monthly basis so that you're both in the loop about your bills, assets and investments.

* Can't Buy Me Love survey, PayPal, December 2010

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