Let’s Talk Money

Dollars and cents can make for interesting pillow talk and may save your marriage

it goes into the pot.”

Khalfani-Cox, who has been divorced and recently remarried, takes a different view. She recommends couples set up a joint ?account for paying household bills and separate accounts so that they maintain a degree of financial independence. “You need to have credit established in your own name in case of ?divorce or death,” she says. This is true for both men and women.

4. Use money talk as an opportunity to discuss your goals, hopes, dreams, and values.

During their discussions about their finances, the McCollors began to talk about the plausibility of Tia leaving her public ?relations job and starting her own business. Wayne, who came from a family of entrepreneurs, had been self-employed during the course of their relationship. “I was starting to get a little ?envious of the entrepreneurial lifestyle,” Tia recalls with a laugh.

Wayne encouraged her to pursue her dream of writing Christian-themed novels and children’s stories full-time. They looked at their finances and together determined they had enough ?investments to support her career change. Tia left her job, which paid in the low $50,000 range. She’s now written several books, including A Heart of Devotion (Lift Every Voice; $12.99).

“You’ve got to believe in your partner’s hopes and dreams and they’ve got to believe in yours,” advises credit counselor Glass, who says discussions about money have the potential to bring couples closer or tear them apart. “Discuss your plans for the future and how they can impact your finances.” The McCollors now generate about $160,000 per year from their various streams of income including commissions, royalties, investments, and rentals. Using their business model and financial planning, they project their cash flow and equity to double over the next year.

“If you are married and you are one, there’s no sense in hiding anything,” Tia says.

The McCollors are also willing to compromise. For example, Wayne was eyeing a luxury Mercedes-Benz, but the couple made a joint decision to wait and live below their means.

Instead of the car, they agreed Wayne could buy the large flat- screen television he has been wanting. They are both happy with their choice.

“There’s no better way to create intimacy with your partner-emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial-than just the ability to talk and communicate and share with that person to the best of your ability,” Khalfani-Cox says. “Just honestly put it out there. It ?really works to establish a bond that’s virtually unbreakable.”

Test Your Marriage Money Skills
Take our marriage money skills quiz to improve your joint understanding and communication about money. You and your partner should answer the questions separately and then compare notes.
My partner handles money:
a. Like a bull in a china shop.
b. According to our mutually agreed upon plan.
c. In a way I have never completely understood.

My partner and I have discussed:
a. Our long- and short-term financial goals.
b. Why we never seem to be going anywhere-and whose fault that is.
c. The balances in our separate accounts.

I understand how to:
a. Call my honey and ask for a larger allowance.
b. Tell a

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