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The wedding and honeymoon are over—time for the rest of your life to begin. Now that you’ll be making financial decisions as a dynamic duo, it’s time to tackle more financial savvy secrets.

Make a list.

Develop a finances “cheat sheet” that lists all checking and savings accounts with a summary of each—when it was opened, the balance, contact information, Web address, etc. This will give you an overall picture of your new joint financial life. If this list contains your full account number, be sure you store it somewhere safe like a lock box.

Tackle finances as a pair.

You may want to designate one spouse as the financial head-honcho, but both of you should be involved in the process. Make a weekly appointment to review the state of your finances. Take turns balancing the checkbook and reviewing savings and investment accounts.

Set up a budget.

Budgets, also called spending plans, aren’t really about limiting your purchasing power; they’re about spending money more wisely. Work together to develop a spending plan that meets your current spending and saving priorities. Need help? View our sample budget worksheet (PDF).

Set short-term and long-term goals.

It’s time to dream and achieve together. Sit down and talk about your financial goals. Make a list and number them, with number one being your most important goal. Once your list is complete, brainstorm ways you can make them a reality. If your number one goal as a married couple is to pay off debt, your action list may include limiting shopping excursions, eating out less or each getting an extra job. Stick this list somewhere you can both see it, like the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.

Get out of debt.

Make a list of your current debt load then make a plan to tackle it—together! For faster satisfaction, go after the debt with the lowest balance. To save on interest, tackle the debt with the highest interest rate. Want to take it a step further? You may consider using what some experts call the debt snowball (PDF). ALWAYS make more than the minimum payment on your credit cards!

Save for the unexpected.

Life may have been pretty rosy so far, but the unexpected, like car repairs, is probably lurking around the corner. Start an emergency savings account to cover unexpected expenses that would otherwise find their way onto a credit card. Experts recommend saving 10 percent of your income each month until you have enough money to cover three to six months of expenses. If 10 percent seems impossible, start at a lower monthly percentage and work your way up. Since an emergency is never planned, put your money somewhere easily accessible, like an interest-bearing savings account or money market account.

Make retirement a priority.

Whether you’re 25 or 55, retirement should be on your mind. Take advantage of an employer’s 401(k) or other sponsored investment program, especially if they offer matching funds. At minimum, contribute enough to get the full company match - that’s free money! In addition to maximizing your contributions to a matched savings program, make regular contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA and/or mutual fund(s). Learn more about these investment options and access calculators and other planning tools at

Seek advice.

Turn to a financial planner for help soon after tying the knot. They can help you determine your financial priorities and set you up on a plan that gets you well on your way to meeting your financial goals. Need help finding a reputable planner? Ask for referrals from family and friends or check out, the Financial Planning Association’s website.

Change your forms.

Be sure to add your spouse as the beneficiary of all your policies, including retirement, insurance and other accounts.

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