(NEW YORK) — Money can be a huge stressor for couples, so ABC News’ Good Morning America teamed up with financial expert Rachel Cruz to share some of her top tips on tackling financial issues before and during your marriage. Plus, she shared ways for couples to work on these issues with a professional. Check out all of her tips below:Set goals and talk about your dreams togetherTalk about your background and how you grew up so you can understand how you relate with money. Don’t copy your parent’s lifestyle. Talk about what fears you have. For example, many women cite being destitute is a top fear, if not the top fear. Pay off debt together using the debt snowball: smallest to largest. Cruz says regardless of the interest rate, pay off the smallest debt first with minimum payments — getting those quick wins fuels the fire and provides motivation for bigger debts. Embrace your differences — one of you will be a spender, one will be the saver. One will be the nerd who loves to budget, but the free spirit will hate living with a budget. This isn’t a deal-breaker, just something to acknowledge and ultimately see as a strength in your relationship. Practice budgeting while planning your wedding — your first budget together can be your wedding budget. Understand the severity of financial infidelity: when you knowingly spend or make a financial choice that you know violates a promise you’ve made to your partner. Keep your money separate until you’re married. Once you’re married is when you can talk about combining bank accounts. Don’t buy a house right away. If you’re getting married at a young age — within the first year of marriage there is so much change — get settled with where you want to land long-term, as buying a house is your largest purchase. Know your giving tendencies: are you an emotional giver or calculated giver? Talk about it and make a yearly charity plan. Give each other grace because you’re going to make mistakes. Too much grace is enabling. Too little is confining. Don’t compare your wedding/life/marriage to other people. Focus on your honeymoon phase, not theirs. It’s easy to look at other’s marriages and think you’re messing up or missing out. (i.e. by comparing vacations, buying a house, kids, etc.)Six financial counseling options1. CFP (Certified Financial Planner) A Certified Financial Planner can help you get very specific about accomplishing long-term financial goals . These are independent advisers who do not work on commission from accounts you open or any investment they sell you. You pay for their time up front, and in return receive their impartial advice.
2. Capital One’s Free Money Coaching Service (at Capital One Cafes)
Capital One’s free Money Coaching Program offers three confidential Money Coaching sessions with a certified Money Coach at any of their 36 Capital One Cafés dotted around the country. The sessions are free and open to everyone, even if you’re not a Capital One customer. In-person sessions are geared to create a personalized action plan to help you accomplish your goals. They also offer group workshops themed around different life moments such as “Talk Money With Your Honey” or “Moving on up in Work and in Life.”
3. The Financial Gym
The Financial Gym is a personal financial services company that’s a lot like a regular gym — you pay a monthly membership fee that nets you a dedicated financial trainer who works with you one-on-one to help you set financial goals, create a plan for accomplishing them and supports you in the process. You can schedule a free 20-minute consult and memberships start at $35 a month for students and $145 for couples. Services include: goal-setting, budgeting and saving, travel hacking, debt repayment, investment education and secure retirement, which includes 401(k)s and IRAs.4. Life Plan from Bank of America
Bank of America announced in April that it plans to release an automated digital financial coaching service called Life Plan in the fall of 2019 to help customers buy a home or save for retirement. The program will come out of their mobile app and will take you through a guided exercise to tell the service about your priorities and problems. Life Plan is for Bank of America deposit account holders and eventually will be available for their other customers. 5. Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo employs 76 financial health bankers in Wells Fargo’s Financial Health Conversations program, which helps Wells Fargo customers who want to save more or strengthen their credit. 6. The Money Coaching Institute
The Money Coaching Institute takes a business coaching approach to helping couples manage their finances. Their website says they “help clients to solve common problems associated with money choices, patterns, and the day-to-day management of money issues. People often have unconscious patterns, beliefs and behaviors around money that prevent them from fully experiencing their true potential. Money Coaching assists individuals in identifying and moving beyond these restrictions.”
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