Just Married? Don’t Miss These Finance Tips!

Seems like as spring and summer arrive, it is wedding season.  I have several friends who have adult children that are getting married this summer. Hopefully, those getting married have discussed financial priorities and expectations. If not, that discussion should happen sooner than later.

Financial topics to discuss

·       Who is going to handle the finances in the relationship?
·       Are you spenders or savers?
·       Do you pay off your credit cards every month?
·       What are thoughts on investing?
·       Do you contribute to charities, and how much?
·       How much debt are you bringing into the marriage?
·       How much should we defer to retirement plans?
·       Who will carry the health insurance coverage?
·       Do you have any life insurance?
·       What assets (savings, investments) are you bringing into the marriage?
·       What is your credit history?

Financial Goals to discuss

·       Payoff any debt (student loans, credit cards, car loans)
·       Saving for purchase of a home
·       Saving for children (childcare, college)
·       Saving for other large purchases or vacations
·       Saving for retirement or emergencies

Shared Finance Choices

Some couples prefer to maintain separate bank and/or investment accounts, while others prefer to merge everything into a joint account. A compromise would be to have one joint account to pay your rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, and other shared household expenses, while each maintaining a separate account for other items.

Similarly, will you have joint credit cards, or each maintain a separate one?

Establishing a budget should be a priority so that you each can agree on spending limits.  See How to Set-up a Budget After College for good tips!

Review your health insurance to determine which coverage is better and what the cost is to cover a spouse, to see if any changes should be made. In addition, review home/renters’ insurance and car insurance.  Having one company to cover both autos and home/renter insurance may provide some discounts.

Perhaps you received a large amount of cash as wedding gifts. Discuss how this will be used. Will it be to purchase needed items that you didn’t receive as gifts, or to purchase furniture or appliances?  Will you put this aside for savings for a future vacation, or to pay off your honeymoon?

Important Detail Work

Once married, make sure your beneficiaries are updated on any life insurance policies and retirement plans.  Make plans to see an attorney to update your wills and establish or update your power-of-attorney, living will and power-of-attorney for health care.

If your name is changing, be sure to update this at the Social Security website as soon as possible and update your driver’s license, passport, any other personal bank accounts, investment accounts, credit cards, etc. that you are keeping.

Talking openly about money matters can help prevent disagreement throughout your marriage. Unfortunately, money is one of the top reasons for divorce.

It’s a good time to establish a relationship with a good attorney, CPA and financial planner to help you get started on the right track!

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Profile photo of Penny Wasem, CPA, CFP, PFS, owner of Lifetime Financial Planning Solutions in Lancaster, Ohio.

By Penny Wasem, CPA, CFP, PFS

Penny L. Wasem is the owner of Lifetime Financial Planning Solutions, LLC. A summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University, Penny earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with focus in accounting and mathematics. She serves on the board of The Fairfield Medical Center Foundation, is a member of the Investment Committee of The Fairfield County Foundation and has been active on many non-profit boards in the community. Penny lives in Lancaster with her husband Eric Hubbard and is parent to Clark and Olivia Hubbard.