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Getting married? Not so fast on merging those accounts

Financial advisers recommend newlyweds set good financial habits as a couple early on, from practicing communication to scheduling "financial date nights." (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — It is peak wedding season, and couples are anxious to merge their lives, but don’t be in a big hurry to merge your financial lives right off the bat, especially if one of you has some blemishes on your record.

“You want to make sure you’re both protecting your credit ratings, and if your partner has a lot of debt or you have a lot of debt and you haven’t paid your bills properly, you don’t want to hurt your credit rating,” Heather Evans, at Merrill Lynch’s Tysons Corner, Virginia office, told WTOP.

“Add to that, when you merge together in a marriage you want to make sure the debt is getting paid off. Take a look at interest rates on your debt and your partner’s debt and pay off the high-interest rate loans as quickly as possible and minimize your expenses,” she said.

She also encourages newlyweds to set good financial habits as a couple early on, especially communication. She recommends scheduling regular “financial date nights.”

“Do it at least twice a month. You might want to do it once a week, or pick a specific day, maybe payday, to get together and sit down with your spouse, and you’ve got time set aside to go over your finances together,” she said.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has published a list of financial planning ideas for newlyweds, including ways to decide who pays the bills, updating beneficiaries and, if the bride is changing her name, advice on how to make sure all financial accounts reflect that.


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