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The Woman's Guide To A "Profitable" Marriage Maintaining Financial Security And Independence

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Tying the knot doesn’t automatically imply NOT having your own identity or financial security. In fact, failure to maintain some personal autonomy may just mean selling yourself short. Experts agree that your joint venture should also include some joint finances, and joint financial decisions. Still, they maintain that the best way to protect your marital assets is to protect your financial assets.

1. Give Yourself Credit: If credit problems are not an issue and there’s no threat of them becoming on, open a bank account, get a credit card and establish your own line or credit and financial security. If everything is in your husband’s name you are basically HIS total dependent and a reflection of HIS financial disposition, even in case of emergency and have no personal financial identity.
2. Read Between The Lines: Review your tax, investment and bank statements. Also look over any real estate contracts and legal agreements. Ask questions and get familiar with basic terminology. Consider a yearly credit report so that you can knowledgeable assess family finances and debt, and make sure there are no surprises.
3. Get It In Writing: Consider a post-nuptial agreement or at least discussing and listing important individual and personal assets (such as inheritance and personal benefits) that may be acquired after marriage. Make sure you’re included on the house deed and other important acquisitions and that you are listed as joint owner of your property (properties) and the house is classified as a community asset.
4. Take A Turn For The Better: Consider alternating bill-paying responsibilities to keep you (both) involved and informed with regard to family finances. Also get involved in all family financial decisions, even if you are not working outside the home.
5. Go For Help: Familiarize yourself with financial institutions and consider getting some professional advice. Set up meeting with a banker, mortgage broker, financial advisor, lawyer or accountant.
6. Plan Ahead: Set up your own life insurance, will and living trust. Also think about a nest egg for elder care (since women tend to outlive men) and also consider a personal retirement fund in addition to a joint account. If you already have a joint plan, consider contributing up to $4000 a year to your spousal IRA in order to better secure your future.
7. Stay Connected: Even if your agenda is stay at home mom, you never know if, when and why you may have to go back to work….perhaps even to help your spouse with (increasing) expenses or as an “outlet” once the kids are in school full time or out at college or on their own. Maintain a network of friends and associates “just in case”. Remember, (according to W.I.F.E.: The Woman’s Institute For Financial Education) “A man is not a financial plan”


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