Until death do us part is included in the marriage vow. But maybe that same vow should include until debt do us part.
When two people merge their lives, how finances are handled should be discussed and not ignored. Money issues can ruin a marriage. In fact, it's the number one problem in marriages and the number one cause of divorce.
Being open and willing to talk about your finances is the first step to helping your mate gain an understanding of how you handle money. Bring all your bills, investments, checking accounts and savings accounts to the table. Be honest with your views of your financial future. Criticism and judgmental attitudes should not be welcomed. Two people can work together even if they have different views about money.
Address such thing as: When you become a couple should you put your money in a joint account or keep it separate? Everyone has different views on this subject. Separate accounts can keep a sense of independence in a relationship, allowing you your own discretionary money.
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Put all of your income and expenses on paper, and determine what a typical month is going to look like. Work together on each line item to decide what your expenses should be. For example, how much do you want to spend for monthly entertainment or how much are you putting away for emergency funds.
Whatever you do, don't get stressed. Your relationship is important. Communication is the key to most financial challenges. Know what you are getting into up front so you both can decide together how to approach the problem.
Is getting into a relationship later in life different than when you were in your 20s? Yes. You have had many years of forming your own money beliefs and spending habits. Some older couples bring obligations like support payments or children's college payments.
Talking to a financial advisor may help. In addition, you could consider a prenuptial agreement. And be sure to revisit your estate plan and decide on a beneficiary. Make any changes in writing.
If you are closing in to age 62 and intend to apply for a former spouse's Social Security benefit don't remarry. You have to be single at the time you apply. Discussing your decisions with your new spouse and adult kids with the goals of reducing controversy will be a positive way to start your new life together.
■ Looking for a way to keep your kid's mind sharp this summer? Check out Amazon's TenMark program which offers a free summer math program ($39.95 value) for students in first grade through high school. No credit card is needed to receive the item. Tenmarks.com.
■ Apple Camp is a place where kids ages 8 to 12 can bring their imaginations to life. Available at local Apple Store locations, the camp is free. Kids will learn to make movies by storyboarding ideas, shooting video and creating an original soundtrack. Apple also offers monthly workshops for adults to learn how to better understand their iPad, iPhone and more. Apple.com/retail/learn/youth.
■ Learn to build a rain garden from Jesse Dahl at the University of Kentucky's Arboretum, 500 Alumni Drive. This free workshop teaches how to manage storm water runoff and enjoy the benefits of plants that are well-suited for these conditions. www2.ca.uky.edu/arboretum.
■ Login or sign up for a Saving Star account to load a new 20 percent off cucumbers rebate offer. This offer is valid through June 23. Check every Tuesday for a new healthy offer. Savingstar.com.
■ Get a free Snicker's bar at Thornton's with a coupon via Thornton's mobile app. Offer is good at participating locations through June 23.
■ Free fish and fries at Long John Silver's locations from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. No purchase necessary. http://bit.ly/1lD6n3m.
■ Visit Babies R Us for a free happy place event from noon to 3 p.m. June 29. Learn design tips for your nursery or playroom with giveaways and prizes. http://bit.ly/1sofvSU .
■ Sonic has half-price shakes every day after 8 p.m. all summer long. No coupon is necessary.
■ Clip a coupon valid for free 4-by-6 prints at Meijer. You'll find coupon print amounts will vary. http://bit.ly/Ub60aK.
■ Get 100 photo prints from Snapfish for $10. Use coupon code JTP1 at checkout. Shipping is free. Or if you have a lot of prints to catch up on, you can get 300 prints for $29 shipped with code JTP3. Offer valid through June 25. Snapfish.com.
■ Who's up for a free pizza? Spend $15 or more at Papa John's and you'll get 25 rewards points, which is enough for a free large three-topping pizza. Become a Papa Rewards member, earn points toward a free pizza each time you order online. Between now and June 29 you need to sign in and place an order online for $15 or more. Use the code: HOMERUN at checkout so you get the bonus points. The day after you place your order, you'll get your 25 bonus points. Use them to get your free pizza, by using the code: 25PAPA at checkout. Bonus points are good through July 16. Papajohns.com.
■ Free preview weekends for these cable networks are: HBO and Cinemax free preview on DirecTV through June 23; Showtime free preview on AT&T U-Verse through June 23; HBO and Cinemax free preview on Dish Network from June 27 to June 30; HBO and Cinemax free preview on Cox Advanced TV from June 27 to June 30; Showtime free preview on Time Warner Cable from June 27 to June 29; Starz and Encore free preview on AT&T U-Verse from June 27 to June 29.