More couples come to their wedding with more than just a few honeymoon tickets. Kids, older parents and even college children are part of today’s modern household structure. As a stepmother of three wonderful children, plust two of my own, I know all about those money pitfalls. When blended families come together, they face serious challenges including financial ones. Settling minor issues like whose turn is it to do the dishes is par for the course. Knowing who pays for a new dishwasher is another. Get a handle on the blended family financial situation before you say “I do.”
Don’t Abandon Personal Responsibility
As a single parent or person, you likely had to work hard to keep your credit score and credit reputation solid. Don’t abandon your hard work now. Avoid abandoning your personal credit responsibility in order to establish a new marriage. Insist on seeing the bills, bank and credit card statements. As the old saying goes, “Inspect what you expect.” Share the burden of knowing what’s due and how much. Your personal credit reputation is still on the line.
Bribing Step Children
Everyone wants to be liked, especially by children. Being a stepparent is rarely easy even though it can be very rewarding. You may find yourself splurging on step kids to prove your love or to “bribe” for peace in the home. Don’t make this financial mistake. Keep your money in your pockets and invest in your home “at large,” not child specifically. Another pitfall is trying to be fair. Common thinking among the parents of blended families is if I buy Susie a television, Johnny will need a new gaming system. Splurge on your children as you can without guilt.
New Marriage Debt
A common problem new marriages face is “new marriage” debt. New couples will receive new credit offers, some will be extremely tempting. Who doesn’t want a new living room or bedroom suite in honor of your exciting new marriage? Other troubling debt creators are family-sized honeymoons, vacations or expensive wedding jewelry. New homes, home remodels and new cars are luxurious temptations that may load your joint credit to a dangerous level. Resist the urge to splurge, together.
Blinded By Love
Fictional character Madea had it right: “Too busy out shopping when you should have been looking at the deed!” Addressing anyone’s financial situation is difficult but you should know where your loved one stands, credit wise. Don’t be blinded by love. Marrying someone who has a shaky financial past is your choice but in fairness, you should know about it. Have the money conversation before you marry.
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