From the very moment of your engagement, you and your future spouse’s lives change forever. There are decisions to make, compromises to reach, families to mesh. With all the excitement and joy comes an assumption of new financial responsibilities as well. Being prepared for the financial changes a marriage will bring can only increase the comfort with which you adapt to your new role. Taking care of certain things early on can help you start off your married life on the right foot.
WEDDING & HONEYMOON EXPENSES • Weddings can be expensive. When you and your spouse return from your honeymoon, set up a timeframe in which any remaining expenses from your wedding –– such as those on credit cards –– can be paid off, whether with gifts received or otherwise.
CHANGING BENEFICIARIES • It’s important to dig out any old insurance policies, as well as documentation for your 401(K) and/or other retirement plans and update the beneficiary information on each.
EXISTING BANK ACCOUNTS • To some extent, you and your spouse will probably consolidate your finances. Review the terms of your existing bank accounts. Should you keep them? Close them? Open a joint account at the same bank?
HEALTH & AUTO INSURANCE • Assess your existing health and auto insurance. In many cases it will save you and your spouse a significant amount of money to obtain joint coverage.
NAME CHANGE • If you or your spouse change your last name, make sure it’s done on your credit cards, tax forms, driver’s license and passport, Social Security card, and voter registration card, as well as on bank accounts and insurance policies.
HOMEOWNERS OR RENTERS INSURANCE • If you haven’t already done so, make sure you’ve protected your home and other valuables with homeowners or renters insurance. In addition, extend coverage to the wedding gifts you receive and obtain coverage for your engagement and wedding rings.
STUDENT LOANS & CREDIT CARD DEBTS • Assess how much money you and your spouse owe.
CONSOLIDATING ASSETS can also mean consolidating liabilities. Plan a budget to manage any debts you and your spouse may have.
MORTGAGES & OTHER LOANS • Always make sure you’ve saved enough so that your mortgage, car payments, and/or other loan payments fit into your household budget.
LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES • Getting married greatly increases your need for life insurance. Make sure both you and your spouse have the coverage you need.
In preparing for your financial future as a married couple, you will have to take care of many details pertaining to things old, things new, and things borrowed. Being prepared and proactive will help ensure you won’t need to deal with the wedding blues.