- Finances for Newlyweds
- New Year's Financial Resolutions
Newlyweds? Make Sure You Have a Financial Union
If the only financial discussion you've had as a newly married couple is about the wedding expenses, one of your first post-honeymoon conversations should be how you plan to handle your day-to-day finances as a married couple.
Whether you're starting married life on a shoestring budget or with a healthy nest egg, you and your spouse need a financial plan you can both live with.
Here are a few topics to get the conversation going:
Current income. Understand what you have to work with. How often
does each of you get paid? The frequency of paychecks makes a big
difference in how you budget your spending from month to month. Do you
have 401k contributions deducted from your paycheck? What about loans
or other employer-sponsored benefits that are payroll-deducted? These
expenses can impact both your current cash flow and your long-term
Credit history. Before you decide to make your first major
purchase together, examine your credit history. Do both of you have a
record of timely payments? Does either of you have outstanding debts?
If so, come up with a realistic plan for paying off your debt.
Money management. A key decision you need to make is whether to
combine your financial resources. Are you going to maintain separate
checking and savings accounts or establish joint accounts? Perhaps
you'll decide to do both: Open a joint account for household bills and
keep individual accounts for personal expenses. Think about credit
cards, too. You may each want to establish credit in your own name.
Spend some time talking about how and when you’ll pay your bills. While
both of you should be in the know about your finances, it’s a good idea
to designate one of you to pay the bills, balance the checkbook and
keep the budget on track.
Beneficiary decisions. Review life insurance policies and
retirement plans to make sure you have the right beneficiary listed.
While you're at it, re-evaluate your life insurance coverage amount.
You may need more or less depending on your financial situation. Don't
forget to draft or update your will to reflect any changes in power of
attorney or living will decisions.
- Create a foundation. Consider enlisting the help of a qualified investment professional, someone who can help you establish a solid financial foundation for your marriage and your future.
The early years of your marriage are a great opportunity to make plans and set goals. Consider where you want to be financially over the next 20, 30 or 40 years and develop a plan to get there.