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Steps to Marriage
  In a serious relationship
  Getting engaged
  Planning the wedding
  Planning your future together
Marriage Tools
  10-minute financial compatibility quiz
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  Wedding payment tracker (Excel)
Brides and grooms: 10-minute quiz determines your financial compatibilityy

(Article from Article Resource Association that
appeared in San Antonio Express-News, January 2001)

So you're months, maybe even weeks away from the big day. Your partner popped the question and gave you a ring, but have you popped the really big question? You know, the question that involves the "M" word?

It's difficult for many people to talk about money. Especially people in love. But it's an absolute must. It's common knowledge that unresolved money issues are a leading factor in the break up of many marriages.

So, rather than wait until after you've tied the knot, why not set some time aside today to start talking about the "M" word?

Randy Schuldt, a vice president with, a new Web site devoted to the more than 75 percent of Americans who hate financial planning, says the key to talking about money in a relationship is to start early. Schuldt, who's happily married and the father of two, says it's paramount to understand each partner's savings and spending habits.

"Because it's not easy to talk about money, Web sites like can serve as a source to initiate the conversation," adds Schuldt, who also highly recommends a relatively new book by Ruth Hayden, titled "For Richer, Not Poorer-The Money Book for Couples."

Ultimately, says Schuldt, a couple that intends to marry needs to go beyond the talking stage to developing a written financial plan, complete with goals, individual duties and financial policies, such as at what dollar amount does one spouse need the permission of the other to make a purchase decision.

To help couples better understand where they stand, has developed a 10-minute quiz-sort of a financial calculator-that both partners can take and use to facilitate a discussion about money. If your scores seem way off don't cancel the reception hall, but take some time and talk things over. If really big problems surface, some time with a marriage counselor or an experienced financial planner may help you and your honey see eye-to-eye.

"Think of this little quiz as a snapshot," adds Schuldt. "It can help tell you and your soon-to-be spouse where you're at now in terms of your various perspectives about money management."

Financial Compatibility Calculator:
(If you print this, circle the correct answer)

1. We talk about money regularly.    TRUE    FALSE

2. We have decided who will handle the bills after we marry.    TRUE    FALSE

3. I feel my future spouse manages his/her own money well.    TRUE    FALSE

4. I would feel comfortable if my future spouse made a purchase of $250 without telling me.    TRUE    FALSE

5. I feel my future spouse knows what my retirement dreams are.    TRUE    FALSE

6. I know how much debt and savings (including investments) my spouse is bringing into our marriage.    TRUE    FALSE

7. Between us, we have more than five credit cards.    TRUE    FALSE

8. I know how much my future spouse makes and what percentage he/she is contributing to their 401 (k) plan at work.    TRUE    FALSE

9. I feel my spouse avoids sitting down and talking about money with me.    TRUE    FALSE

10. We have the same financial dreams.    TRUE    FALSE

11. I feel like my future spouse treats his/her money as if it's his/her own.    TRUE    FALSE

12. I never talked about money with my parents.    TRUE    FALSE

13. I know how my future spouse would feel if I wanted to quit my job and start a business.    TRUE    FALSE

14. I would feel comfortable living off one salary if either my spouse or I wanted to quit his/her job.    TRUE    FALSE

15. When we talk about money, my spouse interrupts me often or dismisses my points of view.    TRUE    FALSE

16. I feel my future spouse is a cheapskate.    TRUE    FALSE

17. We have a financial plan.    TRUE    FALSE

18. We've talked to a financial planner.    TRUE    FALSE

Give yourself one point if you answered true to questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15,16, and 17, and 1 point if you answered false to 7, 9, 11, 12 and 14.

(0 to 6 points) Red Flag: The proverbial marriage referee is throwing red flags left and right. Make sure your future spouse takes this quiz and compare scores. If you see a significant difference in your scores, or if you both answered the same, but had low scores, that means you need help-big time. Run, don't walk, to a marriage counselor or financial planner to discuss these issues and see if you can work toward a better understanding of each other's perspectives on money.

(7 to 12 points) Fork in the Road: You and your future spouse have a few things to work out, but for the most part, you understand where each is coming from. Take the results of this quiz, head out to your favorite coffee shop and sit down to talk about those areas where you don't see eye-to-eye. Maybe you won't see everything the same, but at least you've got enough in common that you can make it work.

(13 to 18 points) You are in Sync: You're probably the kind of couple that when someone is speaking to you, you both answer at the same time with the same answer? Maybe even finish off each other's sentences, huh? Well, this shows that you're on the right track. Keep talking, and more importantly, keep up the financial planning. If you haven't started a financial plan, then, you should.