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Navigating the Financial Waters

by - Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Buying a house is not all sunshine and lollipops. Sure, its exciting to be moving into a new house, thinking about all the things you want to do to make it into a "home"- but even before you cross that threshhold into new home ownership, you need to swim through sometimes daunting financial waters.

HandyMan and I were lucky to stay afloat. The waters we were treading in were more like a tsunami about to hit... in a one month span, we had to renew the mortgage on the old condo, arrange for a mortgage on the new house, secure bridge financing for the gap, close the old condo, and deal with all the agent fees, lawyer fees, land transfer taxes, and adjustments that involved. Whew, I've never had to make so many financial decisions at one time! Pile on top of this all the mini-decisions you have to make -- should we get additional life insurance? What about home insurance - need to shop for quotes and get that arranged! How about closing costs...how much do we need to sock away? And we must remember that we need to have enough to pay two mortgages while we hold both the properties. It can be overwhelming...and I have a degree in Finance!

Luckily we have a great lender who guided us through this process. But I became accutely aware that its very important, as a couple, to be of the same financial mindset before you even start to talk real dollars and cents. People always say that you should have "the talk" (financial, that is) before you get married. I think it’s a definite must-do. People approach and value (no pun intended) money in different ways. You’ve got to figure out all those differences, and work through them, in order to come up with a financial plan that is best for everyone involved. The thing to remember too is that this is an ongoing team effort; you shouldn’t just put a plan together and then be okay with one person saying “Its okay dear. I’ll take care of the finances”.

I’ve heard of couples where one dies and the other partner is left knowing absolutely nothing about the bills or where the money is. In today’s information-rich society, I think it’s a shame since there is so much knowledge and expertise available to help make each person feel comfortable with the topic. So just like HandyMan and I will lay every tile and paint every wall in our new house side by side, so too will we lay down the foundation for a secure financial future together.

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