From me to we: Financial advice for newlyweds

From me to we: Financial advice for newlyweds
We know a good marriage is good for your health. Well, it can also boost your overall wealth.

Study the latest census data and you will see that people who get married and stay married are richer than their single counterparts.

Newlyweds need to make a lot of adjustments to go from me and you to we. One area that's often neglected -- finances.

Disagreements about money can lead to some serious marital problems, and we don't want that to happen.

Financial expert Liz Weston says if you want to success, you need to treat your marriage like a business. That's one of the commandment's in her new book called The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive, Thrive in the New Economy.

The first rule, Weston says, is to make a plan.

"The financial shift will move a lot more smoothly if you're not pedaling off in opposite directions," she said. "So what you want to do is sit down together, cover the big stuff. You know, when do you want to retire? How much do you want to set aside for the kids? How often do you want to take vacations? How fancy are they going to be?

"A lot of people don't talk about these sorts of things, or how much debt you have and how you're going to get it paid off. If you sit down together and create a plan together, then you can move towards the future that can be a lot more financially sustainable."

Weston recommends appointing a chief financial officer in the family.

"Most couples, when they get together, have different skill sets, and somebody is going to be better at handling money. It doesn't mean the other person is shut out, but the person who's better at it takes care of the details so things don't fall through the cracks, and then regularly updates the other person," she said.

Like a business, Weston says, the CFO must regularly report to stockholders.

"You have to really tell each other what's going on -- progress reports. So if you do have a goal of retiring when you're 62 or 65, look at your figures and make sure you're on track," she said.

Weston says it's important to tell the truth, always.

"You know, I used to think there were such things as little white lies in marriages, what he doesn't know couldn't hurt him," said Weston. "I don't think it really works. If you're hiding purchases, if you're hiding debt or credit card bills, that's financial infidelity. And really, you can't trust someone if they're lying to you. You need to be upfront and talk to each other.

"Now, you should have a little money of your own to spend, no questions asked, but any big purchases -- you should work out together."

And lastly, Weston says it's important to understand your partner.

"Everybody comes into a marriage with attitudes and experiences, and talking about your initial experiences with money when you were a kid - some of the purchases you might remember, some of the traumas you may have experienced - can help you understand each other and have a little sympathy, so you can work together and compromise," she said.