Consumer Watch: Couples and finances

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 5:31 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- When couples come together, so do two sets of finances. Kiplinger's Personal Finance warns of some common mistakes couples tend to make no matter how long they've been together.

It shouldn't be one person doing all of the money management. It either feels like a burden or left out of the loop. Still, take precautions in case things come apart, especially couples living together but not married yet. “You should consider getting a cohabitation agreement, which clearly states the living arrangements that you've agreed to, such as who pays which bills, and if in fact you do have a joint bank account, how much each person is contributing to that bank account each month,” Andrea Browne of Kiplinger's said.

A joint bank account is a good idea for couples at any stage to pay those mutual expenses like a mortgage, but Kiplinger's also recommends spouses keep something separate too. “It's definitely a good idea to also have your own personal checking account, where you can use it whichever way you like and buy whatever you want, and that'll definitely help you avoid those disagreements with your partner,” Browne advised.

It can also help if a spouse passes away unexpectedly. A joint account could be at risk for being frozen. Also, be sure you're covered under disability insurance in case an accident puts one income in jeopardy.

As always, communication is the key. Keep the dialogue constant, not just talking during stressful periods in your life like tax time and when planning for retirement.

If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.

 

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