Before the wedding, talk about your finances….

Spring and summer — the wedding season is upon us. Before walking down the aisle, take a minute to consider a serious matter.

Couples often enter into marriage without ever having had a discussion about financial issues. As a result, they find themselves frequently arguing about money. If you are planning a wedding, here are some steps you can take to get your marriage off to a good financial start.

* Premarital financial discussions. You and your intended might enjoy the same movies and the same kinds of food, but are you financially compatible? Take some time to discuss your finances before you tie the knot. Talk about your assets, your debts, your credit ratings, and your financial attitudes, including your spending and saving habits. Do you share the same goals, such as having children, buying a home, or continuing your education? How will you finance your dreams?

* How will you handle your finances as a married couple? For example, who will pay the bills? Will you maintain joint or separate checking accounts? If you maintain separate accounts, how will you split your expenses?

* Premarital financial counseling. Every couple needs to work out their own style for handling money. Call upon your accountant to assist you in setting up a budget, controlling your taxes, and mapping out a financial plan for your future.

* Premarital legal counseling. If you have substantial assets, discuss the merits of a premarital agreement with your attorney. If your partner has substantial debt, ask your attorney how you can protect yourself from his or her creditors.

Perhaps you plan on buying a house together or combining financial accounts.  Your attorney can advise you on the best way to hold title to your assets.

Discussing your finances before you say “I do” may increase your chances for living happily ever after.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today’s small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it.

Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission.

Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations.

She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.

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