Newly Married. The journey together begins.
In sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. Wait. Poorer?
Newlyweds, this is a friendly heads-up—or just a reminder–to talk about money in your relationship. If you haven’t had these talks yet, now is the time to start.
1. Where do you stand financially?
Getting organized is all about laying everything out on the table. You have to look at everything from debts to bills, to savings and investment accounts. You may still be the captain of your ship, but it’s time to let your mate know what’s up.
It’s important not to judge or despair if things don’t look so great. It’s about figuring out where you stand currently.
2. How should you handle the family finances?
There isn’t one answer or one right way. One of you likely assumed the financial planning role while the other is more passive. Some of you may sit down often and openly discuss money.
Sure, some enjoy paying bills and keeping an eye on finances.
But both you and your spouse should be ready to jump in and assume the role of “family CFO.”
Delegating roles is okay, but deferring the responsibility isn’t. It can put you both at serious risk during an emergency if you’re not both aware.
3. Where are your insurance and investment accounts?
Now that you’re getting organized. Both of you should be aware of the beneficiaries on your investment accounts and life insurance policies. Where do you keep them? Are they secure? There are legal implications with unassigned beneficiaries. You should also have an open dialogue about your savings and retirement accounts as well as your insurance.
There are legal implications with unassigned beneficiaries. If you don’t have any documentation, it can be challenging to track down your claims. You should also have an open dialogue about your savings and retirement accounts as well as your insurance.
By knowing this information, it can erase a family argument and avoidable tax penalties in the future. You’ll also likely sleep a little better knowing all of this is organized.
4. Are you maximizing your savings possibilities together?
There’s a certain financial power in being a couple instead of being solo. After all, you are newly married.
Your newly married status can increase your contribution limits to retirement plans, potentially reduce your taxes and open doors to save more. If one of you doesn’t work then you can also consider saving into a spousal IRA. The point is, the retirement and saving landscape just changed for you. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all the saving opportunities.
5. Do you share a vision of your retirement?
Share your vision together. Find a common ground so you can both work together towards your future. You don’t have to enjoy all the same hobbies but working together to save works better as a team. The timing of retirement doesn’t have to be the same either. In fact, sometimes it’s easier and less stressful for one spouse to retire at a time. The point is to communicate and support each other on your journey toward retirement.
6. Do you have a financial plan?
If you have gone through these questions, you have already put together a lot of the plan so far. But a plan needs to be tracked, revisited and adjusted. Consider setting time aside at least monthly to talk about the finances and make sure you are on track to reach your financial goals.
It’s important to know that your plan will change. It’s supposed to be flexible and grow with you. The planning you do today will help alleviate some of the pressures to one of the biggest threats to married life today — money.