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Sunday, September 24, 2023

What to do before you say, “I do”—The present

Finally, it was time to tackle investments and the emergency fund. We decided to consolidate Rebecca’s investments at Vanguard, since keeping track of her investments at multiple firms was time-consuming. Then we cleaned up her accounts and set up an automated monthly investment plan into the portfolio. When it came to our emergency fund, we decided to keep 3 months of living expenses in a high-interest savings account.

Your present talk might sound different than ours, and that’s okay. In any case, you’ll want to start by identifying your assets and liabilities as we did. Assets are things you own—your investments, property, paycheck, etc.—and liabilities are things you owe, like rent and student loans. Then look at your budget. If you haven’t budgeted yet, begin by sorting your monthly spending into categories—housing, dining out, savings, etc. If you notice you’re not saving as much as you’d like, you may want to cut back your spending in other areas.

Keep in mind that you and your partner will need discipline to implement a budget and stick to it, and this may require changes or sacrifices in your everyday life. But don’t be afraid to hold each other accountable. If you’re trying to save but notice Amazon packages piling up on your doorstep, ask each other if you’re on the same page about what’s needed. The conversations might get tough, but remember this should never feel like it’s you versus them. You and your partner are a team working toward a goal.

In my last blog in this series, I’ll discuss what may be the heaviest of these talks: the future talk. When building your marriage to last, you’ll want to understand how your partner sees the future and what they prioritize.

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