Archive for the ‘Money talk Debt’ Category

postheadericon Does Needs vs Wants = Cheap?

At the beginning of the week, we started out talking about needs versus wants. When I posted a question on my Facebook fan page for Brides and Grooms Money Talk regarding knowing the difference between needs versus wants, I received a comment. The commenter said it was a great tip, yet couples avoid it because it makes them look cheap.

I thought about this and began wondering, when did knowing about your needs versus wants become a bad thing? When did it become bad to have balance when it comes to money instead of being out of order, stressed with debt and arguing with your future spouse about money?

Recommendation for brides and grooms, don’t believe the hype about not discussing money and keeping up with the Joneses or that favorite girlfriends wedding you attend in the last few months. Focus should be what do you and your future spouse need for your wedding and more importantly your marriage. The wedding is one day and should be a day you can remember.

Knowing your needs and making purchases within your financial boundaries does not make you cheap by any means. Which would you prefer to buy what you need and have extra or to overspend, have financial stress and strain over money even before you walk down the aisle, relationship affected on many levels?

You decide. As an adult be prepared for the consequences regardless of how you decide. You don’t get to point the finger at someone else.

postheadericon 2010 Year in Review Money and Marriage Headlines

The end of 2010 is just around the corner as is a bride and groom’s wedding day; therefore, let’s take a look at what made the headlines for money and marriage.

#10: At the beginning of 2010, leading article was Marriage: A Good Investment for Guys (Time Magazine). Article cited a study in 1970 that showed an unmarried man was better off financially than a married guy at that time and NOW 22% of the women make more money than their husbands. Question: Will this news bring on a mad rush of men chomping at the bit to pop the question? Observation: I wouldn’t necessarily say that marriage makes a man more successful than if he remained single. When it comes to a man or woman’s success it depends on their character, work ethic, dreams and goals as individuals.

#9: In February 2010, we were given a glimpse of what was happening in marriage via Money Matters in Marriage (Washington Post) which discussed “The State of Our Unions”. Article states according to “The State of Our Unions” annual survey by the Univ of Virginia’s National Marriage Project and the Center for Marriage and Families at the New York based Institute for American Values, W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project wrote the Great Recession that began in 2007 exposed an economic factor. Wilcox stated “the economic downturn reminds us that marriage is more than emotional relationship it is also an economic partnership and social safety net. Lesson: Money has always been a part of marriage. There are husbands and wives that have weathered the financial storms for years. Couples should enter marriage with a clear picture of what marriage and money can be instead of expecting the fairy tale.

#8: February continued to be a busy month when discussing marriage and money, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering there’s Valentines Day and National Marriage Week. Next in line was a news story titled Money and Marriage: Avoid Problems through Full Disclosure (ABC News GMA). Bottom line – ways to alleviate most money problems is to communicate, get help from a financial counselor if necessary, designate one person to manage the money and devise a strategy to pay bills on time. Lesson: Communicating about money is an ongoing conversation not a one time chat or text message.

#7: Our journey continued in February and we were met with Five Ways to save your Marriage ( Of course my immediate thought was COMMUNICATION. Communication was second and first was working together as a team. Lesson: Husbands and wives must realize and accept they are on the same team and not opponents.

#6: Reflecting on the top 10 news stories about money and marriage, month after month we kept hearing about the impact of the economy on people, engaged couples and businesses. One reoccurring theme I noticed was brides wedding dress deposits and bridal stores going out of business. Brides made deposits on the wedding dress of their dreams only to discover weeks and even days to prior to their wedding the bridal shops had closed down without notice. Resulted in no dress and no return of deposit.

#5: It’s never too late to talk about Finance and Romance, especially in the heat of the summer. One story that was sure to get the “home fires burning” was titled Finance and Romance: A Perfect Marriage (Forbes Woman). Short and sweet of this: Managing your finances can lead to increased romance in marriage. Lesson: Very easy to be romantic when there is no financial pressure!

#4: For those who didn’t learn the lesson about Finance and Romance could be living more of the theme from our next candidate, Your Money, What Love Joins Together, Debt can put Asunder (NY Times). Nothing like a bride’s fiancé finding about her student loan debt (amount very close to the wedding day) and calling off the engagement. Lesson: Communicate honestly about the debt and financial obligations being brought into the marriage early on in the relationship so everyone knows the truth.

#3: Debt is a four letter word when ignored can affect marriages severely resulting in divorce. Up next making the headlines was titled The Biggest Money Mistakes Couples Make (US News and World Reports). Top mistakes were not talking, combining accounts too early, sharing credit cards, real estate and other type of debt, ignoring the risk of a break-up and ignoring the marriage penalty. Lesson: Most important is to start talking (not arguing) about money issues and establishing a mutually agreed upon financial foundation that the marriage can operate. This should lead to specific and well-defined roles for husbands and wives and mutual financial goals for the marriage.

#2: I must say I had no idea this next one would even end up in the list; however upon reading the news I felt it deserved to be included. Prince William’s engagement spurs tips on mixed money marriages (USA Today). Different financial backgrounds and experiences and the one with lesser financials can get swept up in their future spouse’s lifestyle thereby creating and increasing stress. Lesson: Even though you may not be Prince William nor his fiancé, do not lose yourself or identity once you are married and give up on your dreams.

#1: This list started out taking a look at the affect of marriage on men and who would have known at the end of November, gracing the headlines would be a Study focusing on women, money and divorce (Today Show). States that 1/3 of women are better educated, in 22% of the couples, she is the primary bread winner and 38% are at risk of divorce. Lesson: For the wives that are the primary bread winner – goal should be working together for the greater good of the marriage. Treat your husband the way you want to be treated regardless of income.

Based on the stories I’ve read over 2010, I’d say we are in for more precedent setting money and marriage stories like never before. Stay tuned…..

Copyright ©2010 – Dr. Taffy Wagner, CEPF – Permission granted to use and reproduce with proper citation.

postheadericon Money Talk Before Marriage isn’t necessary if..

Money Talk Before Marriage isn’t necessary if..

1) You have decided to keep your financial secrets hidden and you can handle the consequences once the truth comes to light.

2) You want your upcoming marriage to potentially be a divorce statistic by not discussing one of the top (if not the top) cause for divorce.

3) You are so in love, your fiance has told you that he or she is not paying their bills prior to your being married and you feel secure in knowing this will change once you are married.

4) You have swapped credit reports.

5) You are aware your future spouse has other children and is not paying child support. then once you say “I Do”, the ex-wives will sue you both.

6) Your future spouse is not working and has no intention of getting a job; thereby placing you in the position of bringing in all the income, paying the bills and planning for the future.

7) When one spouse has more debt than the other and the one with no debt will be expected to pay all the bills.

8) You’ve talked with your girlfriends about financial issues and they have re-assured you everything will be okay despite the fact they don’t know your future spouse and what his thoughts are.

9) You prefer to learn your money lesssons On-the-job in marriage and comfortable with making mistakes.

* If you need premarital financial counseling, register at and Dr. Wagner will contact you.

Copyright ©2010 – Dr. Taffy Wagner – Permission granted to use and reproduce with proper citation.

postheadericon Engaged Already and Fiance’ is Upset About My Finances

I’m a bride to be and my fiancé is upset with my finances already. I chose to share with him my mistakes because I didn’t want to keep any secrets for him. See I know money is one of the top causes for divorce and didn’t want to walk down the aisle carrying this secret. Yet because he is upset, I am not sure how to proceed from here. Was I wrong in telling him? Who is he to judge me? In love and confused about sharing my financial history.

I remember being a bride to be and in love with me fiancé and knowing the financial mistakes I made prior to our even dating and hadn’t disclosed it yet. Choosing to return to school and quitting my job because I felt it was stifling me but not having a game plan in place for other employment that would have been conducive to my going to school in the day time and coming to work on either second or third shift. Once I quit the job and had no income, this led to not being able to pay my bills which included my rent and within so many days of being late, getting a notice on my door to get caught up or face eviction.

There I was not sharing with family members what was going on because I knew that I was supposed to be back in school. Then as I was in the process of being evicted, I shared it with my then boyfriend who later would become my fiancé and eventually my husband. I explained to him my reasons for my choices and he understood.

When a fiancé is upset about your finances, the first thing you need to do is talk to them and find out why they are upset? The reasons could vary such as:

1) Might not have wanted to enter into marriage with a lot of debt on the part of either spouse.

2) Does not understand why you made the choices you made because you have not gone into detail and shared in a manner they could understand. It does not mean they will agree with the choice; however if they can have some insight into why you did what you did then this could shed some light on who you are when it comes to finances.

3) Does not like the mistakes you made and has seen some of those same patterns since you have been engaged and is leary about getting married.

Talk with your fiancé and find out why he is upset. Do not for one second regret that you shared about your finances. The question is will be able to handle it and the two of you can move on together? What you are getting right now is a glimpse into how he will handle financial issues that will present during marriage. Will he be able to handle it or is he going to walk away because it is too much for him. You are finding out during the engagement what will happen during marriage. People do not change for the most part when it comes to handling challenges.

I commend you for being honest and transparent about the choices you made with your fiancé. You CHOSE not to hide it from him so the two of you could learn from them and grow together as you prepare to walk down the aisle and get married. No one is perfect and mistakes will be made. The importance is to learn from them and not repeat them.

If you and your fiancé would like to premarital financial counseling that you can complete in the privacy and comfort of your own home, I encourage you to go to this page:

Recommended Reading:

Benefits of Premarital Financial Counseling

Dealing with Financial Issues can Save your Relationship

postheadericon Is Debt Your Family Heirloom?

We have all have heard and know money is one of the top three reasons for divorce, yet people are getting married every day without having discussed finances. Is DEBT the new FAMILY HEIRLOOM?

Individuals are mismanaging money, obtaining credit card after credit card and not making enough money to pay all of their bills. Where does this start – the lack of knowledge regarding finances? It could go back to their Parents and even their Parents’ parents. Be honest if their parents were not taught how to manage money and has experienced their own share of financial strain and struggle but made it through. This could be the result of not having been talked to about money.

Unfortunately the cycle continues and NOW Debt becomes the family heirloom. We all know that heirloom is a FAMILY possession that is passed down from generation to generation. When I think about an heirloom, I think about jewelry, pictures, furniture and other possessions of older family members. Incidentally, it does seem that “DEBT” has reached this status of heirloom. Unless someone decides to break the cycle, debt will be passed down from generation to generation along with that negative mindset in regards to money.

Debt is not precious nor should it be passed down. DO NOT ignore the warning signs of a son or daughter mismanaging money. Stop today and get them the help that is necessary so that their marriage does not end up becoming a divorce statistic because of money when it doesn’t have to be.

A lot of time is spent on wedding day preparation, but how much time is spent on ensuring that brides and grooms are getting the necessary life skills to sustain their marriage? Couples need to be prepared for financial decisions such as what happens if one spouse loses a job – are they prepared financially? How do they handle when the economy is down? I remember when the economy began to tank, the statistic surfaced that 3 out of 4 married couples were arguing about money.

Debt is equal opportunity and does not discriminate based on race, economic level, religion, or sex. Choose to stop the cycle today and get premarital or postmarital financial education for yourself or the ones you love. If you know you wouldn’t want your son or daughter to go through what you have gone through when it comes to money and marriage, then give them the gift of financial education as a wedding gift. Invest in their marriage for a lifetime and provide them with a resource that teaches them how to make solid financial decisions so they won’t have to come to you and borrow money after saying “I Do”.

Get them premarital financial counseling or give them the program that they can complete in the comfort and privacy of their own home. Go to

postheadericon Fiance is in Financial Trouble

My fiance is in financial trouble and I am truly uncomfortable. It is making me rethink this whole wedding thing. Should I rethink it or go ahead with the marriage?

Dear Bride-to-be, if this is you here is what I have to say – pay attention to your feelings. Obviously this is a red flag for you and you do not want to sweep your feelings under the rug. Remember, money is one of the top reasons for divorce, communication is another. If you and your groom are not communicating openly about money, it is as if you are setting yourself up to fall into the statistic.

Since you know that he has some financial trouble – let me ask you this – did he tell you upfront or did you find out by accident? If he told you that he has financial trouble that is a step in the right direction. Why? Because he is not trying to hide it. Second, he wants you to know what you are getting yourself into.

The next step for you is if he told you upfront, find out exactly how much financial trouble it is. Whether it is so many thousands of dollars in debt, is he facing auto repossession, debt from a previous marriage or what. You need to know the whole picture because once you are married more than likely you will have to deal with the consequences. Trust me, I am writing to you from experience.

My husband had a bankruptcy from a previous marriage long before we got together. Several years after we were married, creditors were calling saying he owed them money. When I asked him about it, he said they were discharged in the bankruptcy. I said okay, where was the bankruptcy filed. Then I put on my legal hat and made some calls, wrote some letters and within 30 days had a copy of the discharged bankruptcy paperwork listing the creditors that were under that filing. Let the fun begin.

So find out what you need to know beforehand and be honest with yourself. Can you handle being there for him while he deals with the financial trouble or not? Also find out what his game plan is to remove the financial trouble. He should have a plan in place prior to getting married.

postheadericon Fiance is bad with money

Let’s flip this. Maybe this is just me usually when I hear fiance’, I think of the groom. Well, hold on to your seat someone sent this one in and said, what do I do. My fiance’ is bad with money and I was planning on her being the money manager. How do I address this now?

That is just it – you address now. Talk with her about money management. Why? Because it concerns you that she is not managing her money well and whatever the consequences are – whether she has debt, collectors calling or whatever, once you are married you could be dealing with the consequences of that. Do not brush it under the rug because it could become a nightmare for you if you do not address it.

Ask her the following:

1) What does she know about managing money? Being bad at finances does not necessarily mean it is her intent to be bad. She might not be budgeting or keeping track of how her money is being spent and ends up making mistakes. Talk with her about establishing a budget.

2) Maybe this should be first, let her know that you love her and want to help her get her finances in order so that once you are married, she can be confident whether she is managing the money or you are. You want to include her in on your financial habits so that the two of you can establish a financial foundation for your marriage. Your finances will be one of openness and not financial secrets.

This should give her some level of comfort and maybe even a sigh of relief because she will know that she is not alone. Dont take it for granted that she might not have had anyone that she could talk with nor depend on and now you are here. Remember it is all in how you say it and present it to her.

postheadericon Would you marry someone with MAJOR DEBT?

Engaged Couples – Brides-to-Be -Fiance’s

Would you marry someone with major debt? What would you consider to be a deal breaker when it comes to debt? Take a look at this article that was on “Glamour Magazine”.

Have you thought about this subject or is this a subject that you choose to ignore? Let me caution you either way – debt does impact a marriage whether it is brought into the marriage or incurred once married. Factors that I believe should be considered is financial plan, work ethic and willingness to resolve and remove the debt.

Entering into a marriage with debt takes away from the opportunity to nurture and build a relationship, yet places the majority of the focus on removing debt and alleviating the financial stress that pulls at the relationship which can lead to pointing the finger.

If you need assistance on talking about finances and removing debt, contact me through this site. I do provide one-on-one counseling for couples and/or individuals.

postheadericon Brides talking Money

I can remember when it was confirmed that I was carrying twins, one of the first things I did was join an online forum where I could speak with other moms carrying multiples. What a great time we had of sharing tips, resources and encouraging each other. I know from being a “wedding vendor” the same thing happens with brides.

Brides get online to do research regarding fashion, flowers and even finances. Well, it is great that you can talk with other brides and ask how do you handle this and what do you do about this. However, when it comes to finances it is sooo much more than that. Money is a crucial part of marriage that you should be discussing with your future spouse.

What do you want for your money and marriage? Only you and your groom know what the truth is regarding your finances. While you are engaged, now is the time you can observe and openly discuss how do you handle different financial situations. Trust becomes a factor. What does it really mean to trust the one you “say” you love in the area of finances? If you do not feel you can trust them, why is it? How will this affect your relationships?

I will tell you this, TRUST is essential. If you cannot trust someone then you do not have anything. Let alone trust when it comes to money. So do not deceive yourself and begin talking with your fiance. I realize talking to other brides gives you  a chance to see how someone else handled it, BUT they do not know your fiance and you are learning more about him every day.

Begin talking money with your future spouse. If you need some help in how to begin the conversation get your copy today of Money Talk Before the Commitment Walk and Debt Stops at the Altar – it guides you through conversations you should have and solutions to common financial problems.

postheadericon Brides and Grooms dealing with Money Matters

Congratulations to all the engaged couples that are dealing with money matters during the engagement! Does that sound strange? It should not because better now than later to be discussing money matters. Talking about who is going to manage the money, what are the existing debts being brought into the marriage and much more can save you from a lot of grief, headaches, nights where you go to bed upset with each other because of financial stress – believe me it is not worth it.

When you stand across the altar from the one you love, those first few months to couple of years should be spent nurturing the relationship, having fun as you learn more about each other as a husband and wife, the quirks, the habits and so much more. Coming into a marriage with debt that has not been discussed is setting the marriage up for division and a lack of trust in the marriage. Once trust is gone in the relationship, it is hard to get it back.

If you are engaged and wonder what you should be talking about, the following is a beginning point:

1) What student loans are being brought to the marriage?

2) What credit card debt is being brought to the marriage?

3) What happends when a financial emergency arises? What do each of you think would be the best way to get a financial unexpected emergency handled?

4) Who is going to be better at managing money?

By all means are these the end all of all the questions. This is a starting point. The idea is not to overwhelm and frustrate each other to a point of not wanting to discuss finances. You should talk about finances with the idea of resolving challenges and having a game plan. Financial discussions can lead to greater intimacy in a marriage.

When there are no financial problems, the fun can truly begin pampering each other just because you love one another. It does not have to be a special day – each day you spend with each other is a GREAT day.

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