Whether you get a prenup or not, talking about money is essential

There are a number of advantages to getting a prenuptial agreement before you get married, even if you're just starting out and haven't accumulated a lot of assets that you're concerned about protecting. One of these is that it forces couples to talk about money.

Divergent attitudes toward issues involving money have torn apart many marriages. That's why it's important to know that you and your partner have similar views about it.

The "money talk" should lead to talk about your goals for the future. Do they involve going to graduate school, having children, traveling the world or giving to charity? Do you have student loans or credit card debt to pay off, and, if so, where do you prioritize that? Do you believe in saving for the future or living for today?

The three areas that create the most conflict for couples who argue over money are:

-- Saving vs. spending-- Debt-- Money management

The "money talk" is a good time to work out a budget for yourselves as you begin your life together. This is a chance to put all of your cards on the table. How much money do you make? What are your monthly expenses and how will these change after you move in together (assuming that you haven't already)? How much of your income goes to paying off loans and other debt? Do you have income from investments, government benefits or other sources? Do you have retirement plans? Do you have substantial medical bills?

If you're having trouble getting up the nerve to ask your partner for a prenup, this is a good way to lead into that conversation. While talking about money isn't the most enjoyable part of wedding planning, it's an essential one. It can also spare you considerable conflict down the road.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Talk about money before saying 'I do'," Kurt Smith, May 14, 2016

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