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Easing money tensions

How couples can cut the aggravation caused by money.

By Gerri Willis, CNN

NEW YORK ( -- Money causes tension in 84 percent of marriages, according to a Money Magazine survey. Thirteen percent of married couples said they fight about money several times a month. They argue more about money than sex.

Here are some ideas for making money less of a problem in your relationships.

Streamline your accounts

Think about opening a joint checking account to pay bills, while maintaining separate savings accounts for each of you. This way, you're handling your finances together, while at the same time maintaining your financial independence.

If you keep all of your money at one bank, you can link your accounts and cut down on paperwork. You may also qualify for lower fees and higher rates.

If the thought of managing these accounts has you worried, think about online banks. You can access them anytime plus, if you shop around, you'll likely find a higher rate of return.

Make the most of your options

Once you've tied the knot, you also have a stake in your spouse's employee benefits. Take some time to sit down and compare your 401(k)s. If one employer is more generous, the two of you should max that out first and then contribute to the other person's 401(k).

One very important note: once you're married, your 401(k) is your spouse's 401(k). That means if you divorce, you're entitled to half. Also, you should sign on to your spouse's health plan if it offers more benefits.

Update your insurance

When you get married, your car insurance will go down especially if you're a guy under 25 years old. Don't forget that combining auto policies together, as well as any other insurance policies, such as renters' or homeowners', for example should get you a discount, since you'll have become a more lucrative customer.

Once you're married, it's a good time to review those other insurance policies, too, so you can decide if you still need them.


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