When planning a wedding, it’s not unusual to spend most of your weekends contemplating what kind of cake you should have or what color scheme you should use. It is easy to get excited with the ins and outs of planning a wedding. After all, focusing on the fun parts like wedding preparation is way more enjoyable than contemplating those other details like how to deal with finances as a couple. But those less pleasurable things on your to-do list are much more important than thinking about what type of napkins you should order. Getting married will affect your finances in many ways, and there are some key topics that you and your future spouse should cover.
This can be a difficult thing to bring up which is why it is often put off. Find a time that works for you and your spouse and discuss your financial plans and goals. Being on the same page will help you both be more successful in achieving them. Being open about your spending habits and agreeing on a budget can help to avoid issues down the road.
2. Create a financial plan.
Consulting a financial advisor before taking on any big financial decisions will help you understand what your financial situation can handle. Knowing the answer to “Can we afford this house we want?” can help you make the best decisions for your financial life together. Taking on more financial obligations than you can comfortably handle is not the easiest way to start this new chapter of your life.
3. Estate planning.
It’s time to think estate planning if you never have before. Consider how it will affect your spouse financially if you were to pass away. Having a Will established as well as designating a Power of Attorney and Advanced Medical Directive are important first steps to creating your estate plan.
4. Update accounts and beneficiaries.
After getting married is the best time to reevaluate how your accounts are titled. Make sure to update your name on accounts if you choose to change your last name. Create a joint checking account or add your spouse to yours. Make sure any accounts titled as individual are intended to stay that way and have been discussed with your significant other. It is also time to update beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, life insurance and estate documents to add your spouse. Beneficiary designations will supersede whatever is listed on your Will and these assets will pass outside of probate.
5. Reevaluate your bills and insurance coverage options.
It’s possible that being on the same health insurance could save you money. Research your options to decide what is best for you as a married couple.
Getting married is an exciting part in your life. Understanding the ways it can affect your finances and addressing them can now make it a much more enjoyable transition and help set yourselves up for a successful financial life together.
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