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The vows are exchanged, the rings are on and you’re ready to start your new life together. Finances are not usually the first priority for newlyweds, but they are the foundation. Having a good  financial plan in place can mean a more peaceful coexistence and less money related stress which in turn promotes a happier more prosperous marriage.

Getting everything into the open is a good place to start. Making lists of your individual assets (bank accounts, property, investments) and debts (student loans, credit cards, lines of credit) and sharing them with your new spouse is a way to get everything out in the open and gives you a clear image of where to start. There are many couples that have no idea about the debts or assets that their partners are carrying and knowing this information helps you set financial goals together which in the end creates a better relationship without stressful surprises.

Make a financial plan. Whether this entails  a written list of goals that gets stuck to the fridge or a meeting with a financial advisor, it’s an important step. Agreeing upon what you want out of life is what makes a good marriage it also gives you insight into what is important to your spouse and creates a team momentum. Making a list of financial goals is an easy way to create accountability between couples and makes achieving those goals easier, the same concept as having a gym buddy.

Have a savings plan. This is a way to plan for your future and actively moving forward. Having a savings plan allows for clarity, even if it’s a simple plan to begin with, it will help you with buying a property, growing a family and planning for retirement. Life is a lot less stressful when you are guarded against the unknown and prepared for the future.

Make a will and plan for the unexpected. When you are newly married you don’t want to think about things that may go wrong, but planning ahead and having a buffer against the unexpected means peace of mind. It is better to know what will happen when the “what ifs” occur then for something to happen and having to deal with grief and disorganization. Making a will to ensure that assets go to where you want them to go and getting life insurance to ensure that your spouse is taken care of shows genuine care and love.

Getting married is like joining a team, set your goals, plan for the future and plan for the unexpected. Learning each other’s weaknesses and spending habits is a way to embrace your differences and shows strength. Don’t fight about every penny but instead work as a team, keep each other on track and sleep like a baby knowing that everything is taken care of so you can focus on enjoying your spouse.