The Norman Transcript

Business

February 16, 2014

Big transitions in life can mean it’s time to make smart financial, investment choices together as a couple

NORMAN — According to a survey conducted by The American Institute of CPAs, financial matters are among one of the largest issues creating conflict among young American couples.

Financial values need to be addressed between young couples before and after they say their vows.

“Good financial habits can take root early on in a relationship and become a part of everyday life,” said Suzanne Symcox, executive vice president of First Fidelity Bank. “Financial choices need to be a team effort. Monetary decisions affect current and long-term goals, so it’s important that young couples begin their financial journey in the right direction.”

First Fidelity Bank is offering financial first steps for new Norman couples as they begin their walk of life together:

· Consider establishing a joint checking account. Merging two bank accounts into one can be a savvy decision for married couples. Having a joint bank account allows for transparency and equal access to the account. Joint checking provides a simplistic way to handle shared funds.

· Make a budget. Often times there is a more natural “spender” and a “saver” in a relationship. Before these roles are determined, create and follow a spending plan. Tools, like FFB’s Home Budget Analysis, help you set realistic budgets for common home maintenance needs and assess where your money is being spent.

· Save and invest. Saving is a crucial piece of the financial puzzle for couples. Together, prioritize your future goals or establish a “wish-list” and keep a separate savings account to achieve these goals. Investing as a new couple now can pay off in the future. Low-risk savings vehicles like mutual funds and IRAs offer great ways to get started on long-term investing.

· Pay off debt and loans quickly. Working toward a new home or automobile are common priorities for young couples. Before signing on the dotted line, investigate which loan and mortgage options work best for you both. It is common for young people to commonly enter a relationship with debt. However, this does not mean a new couple must stay in debt or refrain from leisure activities. New couples should work on paying off debt together, focusing primarily on payments with the highest interest rates to start.

· Talk about finances. New couples should be open and honest when discussing their finances. Thoughts and concerns about finance are an important factor to communicate with your partner.

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