My Newlywed Bliss Box poll is showing so far that the gift is a good idea for most. Total tally is 11. Out of those 11 voters, 5 say “Great Idea”, 4 say “Only to those with open minds”, two other’s are on opposite sides of the fence. If I were to continue on with my idea, the contents would need to be developed. Today I’m going to explain and layout one of the items in the Newlywed Bliss Box; the List of Discussion Topics .
Checklist of topics to be discussed (including count-down to wedding date):
- Nine months before the wedding: List and discuss total combined income including income from steady job, side jobs, and residual income. Use the Budget Worksheet to help itemize monthly expenses.
- Nine months before the wedding: Using the Debt Worksheet included in the bliss box, discuss total combined debt. This debt includes student loans, mortgage, line of credit, credit cards, auto loans, pay day loans, back taxes due, defaulted payments, store credit cards, any other loans or money due to others including loans from relatives.
- Seven months before wedding: Pull both individuals’ credit reports and credit scores from all three bureaus (use the bliss box resource list to help track down useful links). If total amount of debt has been discussed, this shouldn’t be too scary or surprising. Aim for a credit score above 720. Use this information to discuss financial goals and make a plan.
- Seven months before wedding: Discuss financial goals (long term and short term) using the Long term/ Short term goal worksheet. Those goals might include paying off debt by using the Debt Worksheet that was completed two months ago. It might also include ways to increase credit scores, making on-time payments, building a solid credit history. Long term goals might include saving for a down payment on a house, saving for a nest-egg, discussing putting money away for future children, or retirement planning. Dicussing financial goals also helps determine if you are both on the same page with personal finance.
- Six months before wedding: It’s time to decide whether to keep your bank accounts separate or combine them into a joint account. Whether you live together yet or not, now is the time to decide who will be the person responsible for paying the bills and balancing the account(s). Will this be a joint effort, where each person is in charge of certain bills? Or will one person be responsible for the all aspects of each other’s personal finance?
- Four months before wedding: Check the status of your wedding budget, using the budget worksheet from four months ago, and see if you’re on track with your spending. If you find yourself over-budget on the wedding items, you might need to revise the remaining items and see if there is a way to save money, whether it’s on flowers, decorations, or the reception. If you find that your monthly living expenses need to be revised, this is the time to revise them.
- Two months before the wedding: Now might be a good time to pull each other’s credit reports once more if you’ve been diligently working towards improving your credit. If the credit reports were already fine to begin with and the scores were well above 720, you could skip this step.
- One month before the wedding: If you’ve gone through the checklist and utilized the worksheets included, you should be financially ready to take the plunge and marry your significant other.
The point of the checklist is to be financially prepared so that there are no surprises before, during, or after the wedding. If each individual is honest with each other and working towards financial goals, personal finance should be a piece of cake!
My follow up to this post will be the individual spreadsheets. Obviously this checklist won’t do anyone any good without them. I think I ‘ll also be including excel worksheets too, incase anyone wants to create a Bliss Box!
Be sure to vote on the Bliss Box. I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on the box.