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How’s Business?

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I talk much about budgeting and saving that focuses on the end game, but what about newlyweds just getting started? I am in contact with many young Queens couples, but unfortunately and consistently hear that it is difficult for them to realize their financial and real estate goals.

I also hear them say they cannot afford to buy a home in the neighborhood they grew up in because two incomes in today's economy cannot afford the cost of living.

Couples are no longer an "I" or a "me" but an "us" and a "we." Both have to be on the same page when handling finances and their goals together. That 42-inch plasma TV and Coach bag must wait.

I recommend establishing four accounts: two checking accounts, one in each spouse's name; a savings account; and a money market account. The checking accounts give each spouse an identity when spending, not becoming self-conscious if one spends more than the other. Spouses should establish a set amount to go into a savings account each pay period and be disciplined about it. The money market account, which will yield the best interest rate, is for savings account windfalls, tax returns or overages. Money market monies should be sacred and not be used until a couple is ready to make a serious purchase, like a home.

As newlyweds check IRA beneficiary statements, employee pension plans and life insurance, a spouse should always be the primary beneficiary. If one spouse becomes disabled, the other can make necessary decisions regarding their estate.

So How's Business regarding newlyweds starting out? Building a life together is like running a marathon: There are no shortcuts. It takes time, understanding and communication for couples to set their rhythm. It is about teamwork and what works best for a couple's given situation.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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