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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I got a copy of this book a week or two ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It covers a topic that far too few delve into - talking about money before, and during marriage. Money troubles are one of the leading causes of divorce, so I think people would be well served by heeding the advice covered in this book.

The book goes in depth talking about money and marriage, discussing all of the things that young couples and those who have been married for years should know, and talk about, when it comes to money. Some of the things you'll find:

- How we come to our views of money: How we've been influenced by family, by culture, by our experiences and how that can skew our thinking about money.
- How our individual personalities can affect how we view, spend and interact with money and our spouse.
- It talks about the importance of having goals, and a financial plan together as a couple.
- It goes over budgeting and creating a cash flow plan, and includes links to the author's website where you can download updated versions of budget spreadsheets.
- The book is meant to be read along with your spouse, and at the end of each chapter there are action points, and several questions to talk about together. I've found it's very helpful for getting the discussion going.
- Discussions of debt, how to avoid it, how to get rid of it, and how to manage your credit.
- Examines other key issues including housing, planning ahead for a rainy day, spending smart and getting organized.

There is a lot more in the book that I can't cover here, but it really is a great book to pickup, especially if you're having money troubles, are soon to be married, or if you're an old married couple and you want a refresher course on budgeting and setting up a cash flow plan.

Money and marriage can be a minefield, but this book will help you to identify and defuse any potential landmines, before it's too late.

p.s. Some here have complained that the book comes from a Christian viewpoint, or that the author quotes scripture in the book. I didn't find that to be a problem as the book isn't preachy, and the verses that were included were common sense bible verses that are applicable to anyone both Christians and non-Christians alike. Also, you would think the fact that the book is categorized in the Christian Living > Stewardship and Personal Finance > Money & Values sections may have been a clue that the author has a Christian viewpoint. In any event, it doesn't detract from the sound financial advice included in the book, and I don't think it should keep anyone from buying.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
In all the wedding planning festivities, what is often overlooked is financial compatibility. The author does a great job of getting the conversation started between couples joining their finances, with tools for planning and discussion. The book covers the basics of building a solid financial foundation very well, and lays it out in a way that a couple can use as a resource to check the tasks off their list. Going deeper, the author addresses our purpose for money, and the spiritual aspects of our relationship with money. I am a financial planner and purchased several copies to give away not only to newly married couples, but also older couples who are working on re-building that foundation.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I received Money and Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples by Matt Bell from NavPress Publishers Blogger Review Program just the other day and simply gobbled it up! When I requested this particular book, I wasn't expecting to learn any new information from Bell. And while the vast majority of the book was information I already knew, the way in which Bell presented everything- from the financial principles to the biblical foundations behind them- was wonderfully fresh and renewing. There was also some information I about which I was very excited to learn; there were some financial issues about which I've always been just a little bit confused- even after much research- but Bell dispelled common misconceptions and offered clarity on a number of financial matters.

The book would be an excellent gift or any engaged couple or even newly-married couple. While I realize that the typical engaged couple already has a ton of adjustments to make and many things to ponder, finances should not be one which they skip! It may be an awkward and uncomfortable conversation to begin, but it is definitely a necessary one. Bell offers some great diagnostic tools so that you can learn about your spouse's 'money personality', how you can understand one another, and how you can work together to determine the financial state of your union.

I also admire Bell's determination to keep biblical foundations concerning finances at the heart of the book. By turning the focus back to God and less on ourselves, Bell helped the Spirit to bring about a fresh sense of conviction and renewal.

I'm a typical seminary wife and am always trying to come up with more ways to save money and manage our finances better; I quickly found that the same information is repeated over and over through a variety of mediums. Setting financial goals, paying down debt, and saving money can quickly become another chore which I begrudge, but after reading Bell's words, I am encouraged to keep at it! I'll be keeping this book close at hand so I can refer to it when I need a little bit more encouragement and help in financial matters.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2011
I'm sure it's no surprise to people that most marriages end due to fiscal altercations. Bell's book aims to give couples (engaged or married) the tools to live happily together and not fight about money. Bible verses and principles are quoted when necessary, and the book is clearly organized. Surveys and charts are given, and economic terms are defined. There are even prompted questions meant for couples to go through together. My only criticism is that in the section that covers giving, Bell discusses being blessed for giving. While God does say He will bless us when we give generously, people should not give away money / possessions just because they think they'll get a reward; also, the reward may not come in this life. Besides that, the book is a good reference for couples to use. There is even personal advice from the author and other personal accounts that readers can relate to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Every once in awhile, I come across a book that surprises me. Such was the case when I read Matt Bell's Money and Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples; I was pleasantly surprised by the focus, the thoroughness, and the priorities of Bell's book.

When Crystal and I went through pre-marital counseling, we used a great book that walked us through many aspects of married life. However, being such a wide-ranging look at marriage, it included only one chapter on finances. Once we were married, we discovered that a lot more help was needed! Money and Marriage is a book I wish we would have read before we were married or soon thereafter, because it walks readers through the newlywed financial process: discerning one another's historical and emotional financial influencers; setting upon a clear, ten-step plan of action toward financial goals; and growing financially one. That last part--becoming one flesh financially--isn't an idea I've encountered in other books, but, after three years of marriage, I know how absolutely crucial it is. When we're married, this incredible one-flesh transformation takes place, and it's a transformation that I think millions of people are not prepared to make financially. Bell's focus addresses this need.

I also love how thorough Bell is. This is not a watered-down, cookie-cutter approach to finances, where each paragraph reads like a water-logged Chips Ahoy. Instead, each chapter reads like a session with a highly experience, highly compassionate, highly effective marital finances counselor. With each chapter, Bell provides Scriptural backing, clear explanation, answers to well-anticipated questions, and concrete action steps to take (What to Do and What to Discuss). I can't wait to read the chapters aloud with my wife, because I know that we will take clear guidance away from every one.

And finally, I was refreshed by the priorities of Bell's ten-step action plan. Though other books that Crystal and I have read seem to focus on becoming financially free before giving generously, Bell's action-plan starts in this order: planning, working, giving, saving, and avoiding debt. I respect Bell's honesty about the Bible's teaching on giving--that God wants us to give freely and to grow in generosity and to allow giving to remind ourselves of our highest priority ("To love God with all our heart..." Matthew 22:37).

Ultimately, Bell's book teaches marrieds how to steward God's money with our spouse--how to manage it instead of allowing it to enslave us through greed or debt or idolatry or marital division or any mixture of these evils. Bell sees money for what it is: a useful tool for living generously, minimizing stress, and maximizing marital unity.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2011
Matt Bell's book Money and Marriage takes a look at finances for couples. Not only does he give several real world examples for the need of a good budget in marriage, he backs up what he says with Scripture. For engaged and newly married couples, it is crucial to talk through your financial views and beliefs with each other in order to know where the other one comes from. Bell shows that even if you aren't on the same page, it is essential to understand and accept your financial differences and figure out how to work together as a unified team. This book was written to guide and help couples toward understanding their own financial beliefs, and how to make those beliefs form healthy, Godly financial goals.

My wife and I really enjoyed going through this book together! We have been married a year and a half, and are still learning some things about each other. This book helped us look to the future as we plan how we will make major purchases and send our children to college. The worksheets and quizzes, although a little intimidating at first, are well explained, and even fun to do if you sit down with the right attitude. It was good for us to learn that our financial differences help us keep each other balanced. I am not afraid to spend money, but without guidelines, I can spend more than I need to, as I have in the past. My wife finds it more difficult than I to spend, and he helps keep my spending in check. I am able to help him make necessary purchases that may cost more money since I am less afraid to spend. This is just one example of a learning experience from this book for us - one of the ways this book helped us learn to accept our financial differences and make them work for our financial unity.

I really appreciate that Bell's book is grounded in the Bible. In a sense, Bell uses God's words on finances to back up what he presents in the book. Bell is not afraid to talk about giving generously to God and tithing, and where tithing should fall in your monthly finances. He is also not afraid to say love God first. These are some of those Biblical truths that, when practiced first and foremost, make everything else fall into place. Bell has written a solid, Biblical, and straightforward guide to finances for engaged and newly married couples. I believe that you will get as much, if not more, from this book as my wife and I did. Happy Reading!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2011
If you are just married or preparing to get married then let me encourage you to get this book! This will be one of the best investments you will ever make for your financial future as a couple.

If I had something like this before my first marriage, teaching me how to discuss finances or the lack of them, then there wouldn't have been another marriage after it!

Right off the bat, Matt is open with the differences between he and his wife before they got married. He also gives some very interesting statistics about the financial differences between how men and women spend.

He then breaks the book into two sections: Decoding Each Other's Financial DNA and A Ten-Step Action Plan For Financial Success.

Matt included links to his website to download free resources such as a Cash Flow Plan. (I like that, Cash Flow Plan, instead of budget. It makes it sound more palatable.)

In the first part of the book where he shows how to determine your financial makeup, he includes some great worksheets to go through. It certainly proved helpful in determining my financial temperament. I happen to be melancholy and phlegmatic which means I'm suppose to like budgeting and living within my means. Well, I don't do too bad living within my means.... but I'm not too sure about the budget!

At the end of each chapter in the second part of the book, Matt includes a "Take Action" section. There are very practical steps to take to improve your financial situation as a couple.

Money is the leading cause for divorce. Money & Marriage is a real help for engaged, newlyweds, and even couples who have been married for a long time. It opens communication for couples on a subject that has been taboo for most people, money.

I recommend buying it, reading it, following it then sharing it with others.

This book was provided free by Litfuse Publicity Group for the purpose of review. I am under no obligation to provide a positive review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2011
Money and Marriage by Matt Bell is designed to be a practical Christian guide for engaged and newly weds. The book ideally should be read by the couple together. It is divided into three parts.

Part one starts out with several pages of money related questions for the couple to discuss along with worksheets to do together. The next chapter helps couples determine their temperament. My husband, daughter and I each took this quiz and it was right on the money. In part two, the author shares his 10 step action plan for financial success. He takes a chapter and describes each step. It's in this section you will discover the single most powerful tool for managing money. Other topics include: ways to monitor your cash flow, finding out what your credit scores mean and how to improve them, tips for avoiding debt and steps to help if you are already in debt, paying taxes, buying insurance, making decisions about a mortgage, and learning how to choose investments.

The last section is more like a pre-marriage counseling session. Mr. Bell stresses the importance of being one as man and wife. Details are discussed such as getting licensed, who to contact before and after you are married (to change names, status and such), drawing up wills, and how to organize your documents. The topic of prenuptial agreements is discussed. While, he doesn't feel Christians should take this route, there is one scenario where he feels it may be valid.

I think this book could serve as a valuable road map for any couple. There is a lot of information and suggestions, even links to web sites with a lot more helps.I don't think this would be as overwhelmng to a young couple as some books on the market. I wish my husband and I had something like this before we got married. I give this 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2011
My Review:

Being newly married myself, I was eager to read Money & Marriage - A Complete Guide For Engaged and Newly Marred Couples by Matt Bell. I thought it quite the coincidence that my relationship was very similar to that of the author's; we had relationships based on "Fiscal Attraction"! It's true! My partner is a tightwad...and I, a spendthrift!! Once again, it is proved, we are more likely to marry our financial opposite. At first, it may seem wonderful; however, financial conflict, and less marital satisfaction is often the outcome. After reading all the statistics presented, my partner and I agreed that we did not want to play a part in those figures.

This financial guide suggests that it can help to make your marriage different by equipping you with ways in which to minimize financial disputes. To start, you identify potential sources of conflict, and you better understand each other's strengths and weaknesses. Working through the book, you and your partner will work together to accomplish your financial goals.

It was an `eye-opener' to go through all the questionnaires. Discovering our primary/secondary temperaments, helped my partner and I to examine our views and uses of money. Putting together a budget (Cash Flow Plan), would be our next step....in the very least, it'll help take out some of the emotion from our financial disagreements, and eventually get us to focus on our common goal!

Bell's strategies, seemingly cumbersome, once completed, get you to a point that you and your partner can agree on. As a couple, you find yourselves working towards specific financial goals, and an acceptable Cash Flow Plan; all the while, becoming more understanding of each others needs.

The Basic Budget How-To Guide:

1. Estimate today
2. Plan for tomorrow
3. Monitor reality
4. Review and revise
I like how Matt Bell helps you along each step by proposing an Action Step, and then suggesting What to Do, and What to Discuss. This system helps you understand each step of the process, and helps you understand the need for each step. This guide is, most definitely, written well, and is easy to understand, and easy to follow. It can be used as an essential tool; helping couples to set up the their various funds required to live a less stressful marital life.

" The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." - Proverbs 22:7
Overall, Money & Marriage is a good book for a young couple to use as a foundation to their financial relationship within their marriage. It offers sound advice, backed up with solid, informative solutions. While clearly a book written for Americans, everyone will find Bell's information useful, and very applicable to their own situation. For this older, Canadian couple, we found the questionnaires helpful in breaking the `financial ice', and helpful in getting us to become more serious about our goals. Both of us already used several of Bell's strategies; however, having more discussions helped us to come together as a couple, and truly understand each other. Bringing our lives together, we expect our future to be debt free, and fairly secure. To all the future young couples, we recommend reading this book!

Litfuse Publicity Group has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy in exchange for my review. I was not financially compensated in any way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2011
I had the opportunity to review Marriage & Money: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples. What a wonderful resource for Christians! This book covers EVERYTHING...and then some! It is shared in a way that isn't boring (actually it's even a little entertaining!). There are scripture references at the beginning of each chapter and Take Action (What to Do and What to Dicuss) at the end of each chapter.

Here is an example of how detailed this book is (although it isn't covered in such great depth that it is boring):

Chapter 11: Patiently Pursue Interest. The items discussed within: Determine Goals to be Accomplished in the Next Five-Plus Years, Recognize the Risks, Know Your Needs, Diversify, Allocate Properly, Manage Taxes and Get in the Investment Game as Soon as Possible.

DH and I have been married for almost 5 years and this is something that is still useful for us in our marriage...there are always new things to learn! Additionally, I feel it would be an invaluable tool for engaged or newly married couples, as the title says. It would really get the two people to look at and discuss VERY IMPORTANT things prior to marriage. As it says in this book (pp. 10 - 11):

I'm sure it isn't news to you that money is one of the most common sources of disagreement amoung spouses. It causes more fights than sex or household chores, and conflict over money predicts divorce better that other topics of dispute. Couples who disagree about finances at least once a week are over 30 percent more likely to divorce than couples who disagree about finances a few times a month.

So, take the importance to heart - BEFORE YOU GET MARRIED (if possible) - and discuss this VERY IMPORTANT topic!
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