Radio Interview Transcript


ANNOUNCER:  Welcome to the Wedding Details Radio brought to you by Now here’s your host, Damien Allen.  DAMIEN: Good afternoon and welcome to Wedding Details Radio. My name is Damien Allen, and joining us today on the phone is certified educator in personal finance, Dr. Taffy Wagner of Money Talk Matters, LLC. Good afternoon and welcome to the program, Dr. Taffy.
DR. TAFFY: Good afternoon, how are you?
DAMIEN: I’m doing fine. I hope you’re doing well.
DR. TAFFY: I’m am doing wonderful.
DAMIEN: That is wonderful. Glad to speak to you again. Now you’ve been saying, “If you love someone enough to marry them, you should love yourself enough to ask the right questions, and they should love you enough to share their financial information. If you can’t trust them enough to share how much money (or debt) you have, or don't have, you can't trust them enough to marry them. What are you trying to say with this Dr. Taffy?
DR. TAFFY: I’m saying love that person enough to open up your financial bank account. Show them the ledger and even past taxes, but let them know what they are getting themselves into when it comes to your financial background.
DAMIEN:   Now there has been a lot of talk about Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz’ marriage, somebody wasn’t exactly well tuned with their finances. This has raised red flags and started a conversation about financial responsibility in marriage.
DR. TAFFY: Absolutely, because what I found out was that they were married, but he has all of these tax liens from his business that were brought into the marriage. So the question comes up, “Does she even know?” Because it’s not like one or two; it’s 35 tax liens! And he has children from previous relationships. There are three children out there also. So there is the child support issue. So it begs the question, “Did he talk with her about that before hand, or did she find out after the fact?” We don’t know what happened, but it makes you say, Whoever is getting married whether you are a celebrity or non-celebrity, pro-athlete or not, you need to do your due diligence and ask the question when it comes to the finances. Don’t let it be that silent elephant in the room where you’re not going to talk about it even though you know you need to.
DAMIEN: A lot of people fear having that financial conversation. How can this really impact your wedding plans?
DR. TAFFY: It can impact it greatly, because if either bride to be or groom’s spouse has money that has to go out to previous wedding expenses or even child support, then that is less that they can have to contribute towards the new wedding. And even within the marriage, because if you’re paying out child support that’s a regular thing ongoing until the child is 18, 19. So that’s money you know will always be coming out that will not be going into your household and that can actually affect their relationship, the new marriage, because they will say, “Ok, we can’t do this, because x amount of dollars is going out over here.” So it limits what you can do in your current relationship.
DAMIEN: What are some of the questions that you should directly be speaking with your significant other when it comes down to this?
DR. TAFFY: One of the first things that I like them to ask is, you know, let’s see the credit report. Let’s exchange credit reports so we can see what our financial backgrounds really are, where our behavior is and give that person an opportunity to explain why they either had slow pays or why they ended up in bankruptcy or foreclosure or whatever that situation is, because we know that life does happen. So we have to give them an opportunity to say, “This is why I chose this situation and here is what the consequences were, here is my plan to get it cleaned up.” So the credit report is first. Second I like for them to ask, “What are the student loans that you are bringing into the marriage?” Because 9 times out of 10 somebody is bringing in a student loan. Some can be really heavy and meaning a lot of money and so they need to know. Here is where my money is going to be going, or here is what I don’t have when it comes to contributing towards the household. And then third, is there any children involved from a previous relationship not necessarily marriage, because what happens is if there is a child involved and let’s say they were not paying child support, per se, and the previous person from the relationship finds out that they are newly married and now they have a spouse, they could turn around and sue the ex-husband or whoever they were in the relationship with and the new wife for child support. They could name the other spouse on there.
DAMIEN: Really? Does that work with the student loans as well if you become married and one of the members of the union owns a student loan, are you then also required to help pay back their student loan?
DR. TAFFY: No. That doesn’t work for the student loan. The student loan is just yours. You need to make sure you are paying it, and if you can consolidate it and get it lowered, then I recommend you do that, but definitely do your research and know though what are the student loan amounts that are being brought in, because that does impact the household finances on a monthly basis, because it is usually a monthly payment.
DAMIEN: Let’s say that you have had this conversation and you have the financial history of each other down, it comes down to planning the wedding and one of the couple may have a dream of a huge extravagant wedding or a mildly extravagant wedding, and they are not willing to compromise on the budget, what should you do then? How do you approach that?
DR. TAFFY: The first thing you should do is look at how they are not willing to compromise, because people generally how they manage money before you marry them is still going to be what happens once you marry them. So look at how they are not willing to compromise. Two what you need to look at also is are the two of them paying for that wedding or is there a parent that is also kicking in some funds or what is their goal for paying that huge, extravagant wedding budget. And if they are not willing to compromise and you are not somebody that wants to incur more debt, then maybe you need to lay it on the line and say, “Listen, I don’t want to have a lot of debt when we go into marriage. Can you work with me on this, because it’s very important that we not be stressed out and we can’t pay the bills once we start getting all these wedding bills when we come back from the honeymoon.” But really sit down and have that conversation, because I do know grooms that have walked away, have called off the wedding because the bride has such an extravagant plan and all he sees is debt being racked up, and he is like, “I’m not going to do it.” And they will literally walk away. So you have to decide what is more important to you. Is it more important to you to have your spouse, your mate, or do you want the wedding debt?
DAMIEN: I believe I saw something in the statistics that the average wedding is going for around $22,000 now.
DR. TAFFY: Yes it is and it can be done lower.
DAMIEN: In deed, and I know when I got married many, many years ago for the first time, we spent way less than $20,000, but you’re looking at 1980 dollars as according to the aughts dollars.
DR. TAFFY:   That’s right. 
DAMIEN: And with the financial state of the country right now, with the economy being so poor, couples have been together a while, a couple years, five years, whatever. Should they be planning for their financial lives together, should they be saving for that wedding date together now?
DR. TAFFY: They should. They absolutely should, because if they have been together 2 – 5 years, they should already have a plan of, ok, we’re going to put x amount of dollars away every month towards our wedding. If we want to have this big elaborate wedding later on down the road while we are in the engagement stage, and that way when it comes to going to the caterars and meeting for the dress, they can pay cash and there will be no stress, because there is nothing like leaving that wedding, going on the honeymoon and not having to think about how are we going to pay those bills when we get back. They can be relaxed and they can nurture their relationship even though they have been together 2-5 years once you’re married it’s still the fun of it.
DAMIEN: What are the top two things a bride and groom should be talking about when it comes to finances during the engagement period?
DR. TAFFY: They should be talking about  what are their overall financial goals. What are they bringing into the engagement? Even during their engagement period what are their finances that they are bringing into the engagement? What bills do they have to pay individually, because during the engagement it is sort of a glimse into what’s going to be happening during the marriage as far as can they compromise on what they really need for the wedding or what they really want for the wedding. Can they say, “Let’s not put so much into wedding expenses, because we know we want to buy a house.” So let’s put the money more towards the house.   So what are the expenses they are bringing in and secondly, let’s start establishing some mutual financial goals. We know we are going to get married, but what are the goals we want to have? Do we want to save for a house? Do we want to buy a car? Do we want to pay off student loans? What are the debts that we want to pay off, and those are the top two things, because if they can start working together during the engagement, it will be real smooth once they get married. They will get some kinks and bumps every now and then, but they will already how to communicate when it comes to finances and to be thinking solution oriented versus victim oriented.
DAMIEN: And knowing that someone has your back and having a true partner that’s there with you makes everything a lot easier.
DR. TAFFY: Exactly you have a partner, you have a team mate that is working with you not against you.
DAMIEN: Now we mentioned what can happen with child support, and if you marry someone who has debts and liens, and we spoke about the bride may be responsible in a counter-suit. Can there be any other things that a bride may be responsible for when the unions come through and these debts and liens show up?
DR. TAFFY: Well the things that she can be responsible for, not necessarily that she would have to pay them, but she would end up dealing with some of the consequences of that person having debts and liens. What I mean by the consequences, that means getting the phone calls from collection agencies or getting calls from the tax collectors or getting letters in the mail and they won’t be addressed to her, but she would be dealing with it because it’s her spouse. So she would have to be listening to him say, “Oh well now I have this other letter.” And his frustration of whether he has decided how he is going to solve and fix that problem. So that’s where should would be dealing with some of the consequences of the debts, the liens and that type of thing, and I do want to point out there is a website that people can do a search, just to do a little bit of their own background check, and I think it’s worth it if they aren’t going to let you know, because I think it’s deceiving if you aren’t up front with somebody about your financial obligations that already exist prior to marrying them. So the website is and it’s an affordable site where you can do just a little bit of background check, because you need to know prior to getting married what you’re getting yourself into.
DAMIEN: Are there any other websites or services you can use to do a check and see if someone else has liens?
DR. TAFFY: Yes, that one has liens, it has everything on it. That is a really, really good site, and I have a legal background, and that’s one I even used when I was actively working in a law firm.
DAMIEN: What do you say to a bride that’s listening has some financial challenges and she is afraid to speak to her fiancé about it?
DR. TAFFY: The first thing I would tell her is I can understand you’re being afraid, but don’t let that fear stifle you to the point of you don’t tell him and once he finds out after the fact then trust is going to be broken, and he is going to say that you deceived him, you lied to him. You didn’t share with him up front. So you would rather tell him now and him maybe having a little discomfort about finding out that you have some financial challenges, but you share with him that you wanted to be upfront and honest with him so he knew what he was getting himself into and you’re saying to him, “I love you so much that I am putting it on the line saying to you I have some financial challenge, how can you help me? I’m not asking you to pay them, I’m asking you to help me devise a plan so I can get everything paid off based on what I’m making right now.” Because obviously there are some things that I don’t know. Because there are grooms that don’t have financial challenges and it’s just the bride. So if he doesn’t have financial challenges and his stuff is in order then he can provide some insight.
DAMIEN: Well we would like to thank you for joining us today, Dr. Taffy.
DR. TAFFY: Thank you so much. This is wonderful.
DAMIEN: If someone else is wanting to get more information on this and other money matters subjects, where do they go for more information?
DR. TAFFY: They can contact me at
DAMIEN: And of course you can always stay her on Wedding Details Radio and listening to the continuous series of Money Talk Matters with Dr. Taffy, and we thank you once again for joining us today.
DR. TAFFY: Thank you so much.
DAMIEN: You’ve been listening to Wedding Details Radio. My name is Damien Allen for Dr. Taffy and the entire staff here, thank you very much for listening and have a great day.
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