Consolidating finaces when marrying

Help your children become investors as soon as you can.We encouraged each of our children to become investors by giving them money to start their own stock portfolios.How can you unite a blended family when it comes to money?As financial coaches, money managers, and authors of Worry-Free Family Finances (Mc Graw-Hill), we discovered those challenges firsthand when we married in 1994.No wonder money dilemmas can become so testy and complicated.Separation agreements may feel very black-and white when you are negotiating them.We selected stocks with them and agreed to match whatever they put in.You can do the same with as little as 0 per child.

Most people don't need a pre-nuptial agreement, and demanding one is asking for problems. If Mary is hoping to redecorate the den, or Bill wants to plan a trip for the family, we have a clear sense of whether we can afford it. In our case, Mary hadn't been able to save much towards college for her children.

(Excellent resources include savingsforcollege.com, collegesavings.com, and kiplinger.com).

Tax advantages, such as the Lifetime learning credit and the Hope credit, can help too. If your daughter gets horseback riding lessons, does your son need a new car? Don't try to spend exactly the same dollar amount on each child.

Some opt to maintain two bank accounts and keep their money separate. We think either way works fine, as long as you're open with your spouse about how you're are saving and investing. But this is the key to getting what you want with your money. Saving for Mary's children became one of our priorities.

Investment decisions should always be made together. We reassured Bill's children that their money was safe.

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