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'Money dates' could save your marriage

Susannah Lee

“Budgeting leads to fights, leads to stress, leads to confusion,” according to David Bach, New York Times best selling author of “Smart Couples Finish Rich." He recommends ‘throwing the budget out!"

Research repeatedly shows financial disagreements between couples are a key predictor of divorce. So - it's no surprise, financial advisors typically talk about developing detailed budgets. But David Bach disagrees.

Drawing from his 23 years of experience as a financial advisor and now as the vice chairman at financial planning firm, Edelman Financial Services, Bach assures “our clients who have built real wealth, about half a million dollars or more, they did not get there from budgeting.”

Instead of budgeting, Bach advises couples to go on a ‘money date,’ which he admits may not sound very romantic but can help make the couple happier. Bach suggests going on a ‘money date’ at least once a month to get a good grasp of the family’s financial picture and making sure your goals are aligned - “it's very important, it keeps you aligned and it also protects the family in case something happens to the spouse, who’s the CFO.”

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The dynamics of the American household has changed with more dual incomes but regardless, Bach said the key is “whether you’re a woman or a man, if one of you are in charge of paying the bills and the investments, the other one needs to know what’s going on.”

Bach is clear there should be no blurred lines, when it comes to knowing who's in control of the family’s finances. “In households, there is only one CFO.” He also advises to always “pay yourself first and start saving immediately.”

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