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      Money Talks News: Marriage and Money Matters

      "Will is more of a saver and I don't consider myself a spender. But every now and then, this past week, I will go out and run up a sizable bill. But nothing more than 4 figures."

      Humor and understanding have been a key to 40 years of marriage success for Nancy and Will Johnston, especially when it comes to money.

      So when should couples talk about finances?

      "The earlier the better, because money is often a touchier subject than almost anything else -- sex, violence, you name it."

      According to a National Foundation for Credit Counseling poll, 2/3 of people don't want to talk to their honey about their money. But you know, it's a conversation you've got to have.

      Let me give you some conversation starters.

      Step one: Share money philosophy. Are you a spender or a saver? Talk about how your family shaped your view of money and how to use it.

      Step two: Chat about credit -- your scores, and your debt load. While you'll always have your own credit file, you could have joint debts.

      And don't forget about other obligations. Do you pay alimony, child support, help a parent? You've got to disclose these things before you get into the marriage.

      Step four: Set goals. Talk about your future plans. Finally, step five: Budget. Plan your savings and expenses. Great place to practice? The wedding. Professional credit counselors advise doing it debt-free.

      "Credit card payments may last longer than the marriage. So you shouldn't spend more than you can afford."

      Bottom line: this church has steps and so do you. One of them is getting to know your partner every bit as well financially as you do every other way.

      Now what you need is some more information and ideas and I've got them waiting for you at and do a search for "marriage."

      For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.