The XX Factor

What’s the Most Essential Financial Advice for Newlywed Couples?

On the premiere episode of the Real Housewives of Miami , basketball star Scottie* Pippen’s wife Larsa boasted to her fellow Housewives that she managed all the money in their relationship, and advised them to do the same. After spending months researching and writing the Home Economics series about how couples manage their finances, I had a chuckle at Larsa’s counsel. It also reminded me that I needed to reveal the results of the poll I posted asking Slate readers what financial advice they would give to love birds just starting out. There was a clear winner: Almost 30 percent of respondents say that couples should not wait until they are stressed to talk about money matters. They should have forward-looking talks before things get hairy. The second most-popular piece of advice, with about 20 percent of the vote, was to make a budget and stick to it, and about 18 percent of respondents recommended getting rid of debt as quickly as possible.

Of course, it’s not just newlyweds who need to deal with their finances. How you manage your money is an issue that will come up for the rest of one’s married life. In fact, The Wall Street Journal ‘s Katherine Rosman just started a column about the thorny financial issues that arise after the honeymoon is long over. However, armed with everything I’ve learned from writing this series, I finally feel like my husband and I are off to a strong, informed start.

*Correction, March 2, 2011: This blog post originally misspelled basketball player Scottie Pippen’s name.

Photograph of Larsa and Scottie Pippen by Jonathan Daniel for Getty Images.