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How not to let money troubles spoil a marriage
Finances » Seven steps experts recommend to steer clear of potential pitfalls.


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Keep credit cards separate » It’s not necessary to make your spouse a joint accountholder on your credit cards, especially if he or she has a poor credit history, which can drag down your own credit rating. Instead, make your spouse an authorized user of your credit cards. This will avoid any potential impact to your credit rating. As a safeguard, authorized users are also able to check account balances and track spending on the card.

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Don’t split costs 50-50 »In marriage as in most other scenarios, money is power. Although splitting household costs down the middle may work early on in a relationship, it can breed resentment in a marriage when one spouse makes a lot more money than the other. It also can foster a sense that the person who pays more should have more say in financial matters.

"Very few things in marriage are exactly 50-50," says Chambers. "And that can really start to bring up all of these other issues of fairness."

Still, even if costs aren’t split down the middle, it’s important that each spouse hold equal say in making money decisions.

Talk about spending » Even after you’ve reviewed all the financial paperwork, sometimes it’s even more important to find out how your spending habits match up.

Often those habits are developed early and are entrenched. One person might have grown up in a family that counted every penny. Another might part far more easily with money because shopping became a hobby.

Beyond how much someone likes to spend there are potential conflicts over what we see as a must-have.


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Even small differences can become wedge issues later on.

"The central task of marriage is the management of differences," says Chambers. "So you want to be able to know early on what those differences are."



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