They urge couples to first confront feelings of shame and embarrassment over debt and overspending, which can be paralyzing. Then, work toward trusting each other and avoid trying to control every money choice, from buying coffee to a new work outfit. Next, talk about your shared vision for your life together. Maybe one person wants to be more frugal to fund a fabulous vacation one day, for example. Lastly, develop a plan and budget together to make that vision a reality.
When you're breaking up:
7. Don't ignore the possibility of this moment. It's not as romantic as discussing flower arrangements for the wedding, but the risk of a break-up is a reality. To protect yourself, make sure you share money management responsibilities, so one person isn't the sole bookkeeper, or investor, or bill-payer. Each person should know the passwords and locations for all accounts.
8. Separate your credit. Unfortunately, credit scores can stay intertwined long after a marriage ends. If you are still registered as a co-owner of a credit card that is also used by your ex-spouse, you are considered responsible for that debt, regardless of the state of your marriage. (In some states, all accounts opened during marriage are considered joint, regardless of whose name is on them.) Post-divorce credit problems, which are common, usually can be avoided by closing joint accounts.
The good news: Financial disagreements might be one of the most common causes of relationship tension, but they can be significantly improved with a little effort.
Kimberly Palmer (@alphaconsumer) is the author of the book Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back .