Congratulations on the wedding! During the blissful days of the honeymoon, it may be tempting to put aside finances. But money is an issue that should be addressed and planned for right away.
It may not be romantic, but money plays an important role in marriage. Finance can be a great cause of stress, so it’s important to start off on the right foot with smart planning and good communication. These steps can help you do it!
Talk about your financial habits
Start your marriage by talking to your spouse about your financial habits. You should both know about bills to pay, outstanding debts, savings habits, spending habits, credit cards, credit scores, and other daily financial information.
Being open and honest can help build a solid foundation for everything from budgeting to planning for a future together.
In addition to daily expenses, you should also discuss how everyone manages money. Consider things like how often you save, whether or not you’ve already started planning for retirement, and how you’ll handle financial decisions.
They don’t have to say exactly the same thing about everything. The goal should be to have a good dialogue, be transparent, keep each other informed, and see what areas might need limitations.
Decide how you want to handle banking and invoices
Once you know the financial details, you will need to decide how to go about banking. There are many options, so an open discussion will help you decide the best way to support your needs.
Some couples may also want to “pool” their bank accounts and have joint accounts in everything. Others will prefer a joint account for some things and individual accounts for others. And some married couples prefer to have separate accounts, and each has particular financial responsibilities.
There’s no right answer here as long as you’re both honest about financial matters and agree on the plan that works best for you. Keep in mind that flexibility and communication are important, even after making decisions.
Remember that your needs may change over time, so be flexible and make adjustments based on your current situation.
Evaluate Taxes and Insurance Plans
Once married, you should review your current tax forms together to see if you need to make adjustments to your current withholding exemptions. If adjustments are needed, you should contact your employer’s Human Resources department to arrange the paperwork.
During tax season, you will have the option of filing jointly or separately. Talk to your accountant or tax professional to help you decide which option is best for you.
You should also review your insurance coverage now that you are married. Decide if you want to consolidate auto insurance. Look at health coverage and see if one has a better program than the other. Decide if it’s better to have a family plan or save more by keeping individual plans. And remember to update beneficiary designations.
Sometimes there are time limits after the wedding to be able to change health insurance coverage, so find out about policies at your respective company. If the deadline is past, you’ll have to wait until the enrollment opens again before you can make the changes.
Make a list of financial priorities
Newlyweds are usually full of dreams and hopes for the future. In order to make those dreams a reality, take the time to set the couple’s financial priorities.
It’s not a budget or a goal, it’s a list of things you want to focus on first. This step will make it easier for you to work out your budget and set financial goals, because you’ve already agreed on what’s most important.
If you both know that traveling is something you want to do in the early years of marriage, put it on the list. Or perhaps the top priority is to pay off the student loan debt or save to enlarge the family.
Your priority list may include both short-term and long-term financial issues. It’s about what’s important to you as a couple.
Create a budget and set financial goals.
Once you know what your priorities are, you’re ready to lay the groundwork for your new financial future: budgeting and setting financial goals.
Your budget should include everything from day-to-day expenses to creating an emergency fund for future financial goals.
Possible short-term goals may include saving for vacations and making a down payment on your first home. Long-term goals may include, for example, financing your child’s education or saving for retirement.
Create an action plan to incorporate your goals into your current budget. Budgeting tools allow you to easily create your monthly budget and monitor the progress of your financial goals without stress.