Struggles about money are a top reason why many marriages fail. But if you can clarify your values about money beforehand, you’ll be better equipped to discuss money issues later on – and make better financial decisions together.

Open communication is a must. Begin by discussing your attitudes about money. Do your money personalities mesh? If not, how can you compromise or overcome potential problems?

Ask serious questions regarding debt. Do you have student loans? Do either of you have too much credit card debt? What are the ramifications of your current debt situation on your future? Is debt indicative of greater problems to come?

Determine which finances to merge. Some experts recommend keeping your current credit cards in your name for now and keeping the debt separate. Once you’re married, consider opening a joint credit card. Savings and checking account balances can be merged so you can leverage your money to avoid fees. Merging balances will also let you view your household budget as a whole.

Your spouse becomes your partner in financial decisions. Rather than a parent, your spouse will be the co-signer on future loans and co-owner of savings accounts and other assets. And with your pending nuptials, it’s a good time to create or revise a will and health directives, reassign beneficiaries and update life insurance policies.

Along with how you spend and save, it’s important to set a strategy for your financial future. At American Spirit FCU, we can help with a range of services and assist with the merging of your finances.