By David Rae
Sept. 19, 2019
Whether you are just getting married or have been married for years, many couples are still financial newlyweds. If you haven’t gotten on the same page financially, you are financial newlyweds regardless of how long you have been dating or even married. I am always amazed at how many couples have never broached the subject of their financial futures. Think of things like saving for retirement, buying a home, or even how many kids they want to have.
Disagreements over money can really cause friction in couples. Hopefully, these tips can help you avoid the fights, and keep you happy and successful until death do you part. Not to harp on the negative, but financial issues are the number one cause of divorce. Life is hard enough; let ’s not let money be the reason you don’t have a happy marriage.
Here are five tips for newlyweds to get their financial houses in order:
1. Get on the Same Page Financially:
Set a financial date night and discuss your current income and expenses. From there, you can set up a family budget, and decide how you want to share financial obligations. Look to have a plan to pay your monthly bills, and set aside money for your various long-term financial goals.
Don’t forget to give each other some “fun” money that you can spend however you like. If you are staying on a budget who cares, this is your money to enjoy, guilt-free. It is also beneficial to set a number that you can spend without consulting the other person. For example, you can spend $200 on clothes but not go buy a new car without discussing it.
Also, if you are bringing debt into the relationship (credit cards, student loans, car notes), develop a plan to get it paid off. While not fun, the reality is that this debt is both of yours now.
You may even want to get a new credit card as a couple.
2. Set Goals for You Married Financial Future:
In the short term, this may be things like a nice vacation, or just saving money to see the family over the holidays. Longer-term, you may want to have a plan for your next car, starting a family, or buying a home. Of course, you still need to get planning for the day you enter your dream retirement.
3. Work Together to Keep More of Your Hard Earned Money
Filing taxes together is part of married life. I know fun, right? The IRS will consider you married for the entire year even if your wedding held on New Year’s Eve. You may quickly learn about the dreaded “marriage penalty.” Sadly, many of you reading this will owe more taxes as a married couple. A few of you will be lucky and owe less.
Don’t wait until April when filing your taxes for the previous year to figure out whether you will owe more or less. A large surprise tax bill is not a fun way to start your married life. Be proactive, and you may have some new opportunities to lower the tax bill that you didn’t have before. Either way, whether bigger or smaller you don’t want to get surprised come tax time.
For example, I help my husband max out his 401(k) plan at work. This helps us save more for retirement as well as lowers current tax liabilities. Getting every cent of the employer match in our retirement plans is imperative for our financial plan.
4. Don’t forget about protection planning
Now you aren’t just planning for yourself, but for your newlywed family. You should take another look at things like disability insurance or even life insurance. While we obviously hope nothing bad happens to either of you, we want to make sure that your financial futures are not wrecked if something bad does happen to you.
5. Update Your Beneficiaries and other Paperwork:
If you already have life insurance or retirement accounts, make sure to update your beneficiaries to include your new spouse. You should also update your tax forms with your employer, to help have the correct amount of taxes taken out of your paychecks. You may even get a discount on things like your auto insurance now that you are married. You may also be eligible for further discounts if you move all of your auto insurance and home insurance to the same company. Why pay more than you need to?
Getting your newlywed financial house in order will help you merge your financial lives and truly make you “love nest” a home. Anything you can do to help make the transition from single to the couple will help avoid fights and disagreements. In the long term, working together will help make achieving your financial goals and life goals easier. Your wallet will thank you.
This article was written by David Rae from Forbes and was legally licensed by AdvisorStream through the NewsCred publisher network.