Daily Dupaco

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Tidy up finances before tying knot

This is the first in a three-part series exploring money and marriage. A recent survey found that debt can, at least temporarily, derail a couple’s plans to get married. We’ll talk to two couples who turned to Dupaco Community Credit Union to help tidy up their finances before tying the knot. Plus, we’ll offer financial advice for other soon-to-be married couples. To the bride and groom!

On the verge of popping the question, Ryan found some invaluable answers at Dupaco Community Credit Union.

Ryan, who was ready to propose to his girlfriend, Sarah, walked into Dupaco looking for a loan. He walked out with sound advice to tighten his finances – just in time to begin a new life.

He met with Cindy Hilkin, a loan consultant at Dupaco, and received an unexpected, but welcome, in-depth lesson about his credit. Ryan learned that he could slash the interest rates on both his auto loan and credit card debt by simply moving them to his member-owned credit union.

The next time Ryan contacted Dupaco, he was already money ahead. And he was pleased to report that his girlfriend had said yes to his proposal – and the newly engaged couple wanted to find out whether Dupaco could uncover savings for the bride-to-be.

“With the average cost of weddings going up, we wanted to make sure that we were in as good of a financial position as possible so that we could have the celebration we wanted without putting ourselves further into debt right when we get married,” Ryan says.

It was Sarah’s turn to meet with Hilkin. She quickly learned that she, too, could save money by consolidating her credit card debt and moving her auto loan to Dupaco.

“Now that I have a much lower interest rate, I’m able to pay it off a lot quicker,” Sarah says. “I feel like my payments are now actually paying things off rather than just going toward interest every month.”

Hilkin says both Ryan and Sarah have great jobs and income. They just needed a little help rearranging their finances.

“It was an amazing thing they did to set themselves up for success – not just financially but for their marriage, too,” Hilkin says. “They were up front and honest with each other and put themselves in the best financial positions they could before entering into marriage.”

Sarah says that talking about their finances with a financial coach brought their relationship to a new level. They talked about the importance of establishing a budget and making good spending choices. Call it a wedding gift that will keep on giving. They left breathing a sigh of relief, knowing they had a solid financial plan in place.

“We were open with each other already, but it was just good to get it all out there. And I felt like Dupaco was never judging us,” Sarah says. “We always had thought it would be a hassle to shop around and switch your loans, but it was so easy.”

Ryan has become a firm believer in the power of a financial checkup. And he encourages other engaged couples to do the same.

“Give your budget and debt an honest look while planning for your big day, so you can start your marriage on the right foot,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to have someone see if they can restructure your existing debt. It might help you afford something for your wedding you didn’t think you could.”

Ryan and Sarah plan to marry this fall.

By Emily Kittle

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