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Laura Hunt

Romance & Money

Buying Your First Home

Financial tune-up month

Tami in Wisconsin:
We just got married this past summer and are looking forward to buying a house next fall after we’ve saved a little more money. I know there are things we should do to lay a good foundation for our future together. I just don’t know where to start. Any good advice?

Great question Tami!

October is a good time to get prepared for the upcoming holidays and the new year by performing a financial tune-up. Since you are newlyweds, this is a good habit to get into now, and it will provide you with the foundation you mentioned. It’s like spring cleaning, only in the fall.

"Fill what's empty, empty what's full, and scratch where it itches."
The Duchess of Windsor,
when asked what is the secret of a long and happy life

Think of it as if you were going on a trip; you need to know where you are before you can figure out how to get where you want to go. And then you need to do that tune-up to make certain you arrive safely.

Here are some things you should do annually:

1] Order your credit report (make certain the information reported about you is accurate. If not, write to the repositories that provided the erroneous information and have them correct it.) Make sure to order your FICO score as well. Remember if you are newly wed, your credit reports most likely are as well.

2] Make certain you are paying the lowest possible interest rates on all debt. If not, call your creditors and request lower rates. If they won’t lower it, shop around (check your Sunday paper).

3] Check on your insurance policies; amounts, coverage, names, beneficiaries, etc.

4] Perform the same check up on all legal documents and identity (wills, bank statements, real estate deeds, etc.) Sadly, no matter what your age, tragedy happens. Don’t leave your loved one's name off your insurance or bank accounts. When that happens, tragedy strikes twice.

5] Finally, if your future plans rely on your ability to budget today, revise that budget. Make certain both of you are on track with your commitment to the future so you will arrive safely. If Christmas shopping will upset your budget, now is a good time to set some limits and get prepared. If you haven’t created a livable, formal budget, see our sample budget at

Additional information on this topic:

Read Earlier Articles
Editorial Calendar & Monthly Budget Worksheet
Important Financial Help Websites and Phone Numbers



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