Getting married is an exciting milestone. It also brings up that other big M word: money. Financial planning for couples can be daunting, draining and downright complicated without a plan. That’s why we’ve created a guide to the key financial items you should think about putting on your to-do list so you can begin your newlywed life in bliss.
1. Understand your budget as a family
You and your spouse may have very different financial habits, so it’s important to get on the same page. Do a quick financial check-up to assess your financial health and current saving, spending and investing habits. Once you have a sense of where you both stand, create a budget together.
2. Update your insurance
Getting married is an excellent time to get insurance, because insurance acts as a safety net for your family when life gets tough. Many newlyweds take the time to purchase life insurance or add their spouses to their existing plans. If you were to die, life insurance would give your designated beneficiaries (such as your spouse and — if and when — your kids) the money they’ll need to take care of living expenses. In general, you should have enough life insurance to let your family maintain its current lifestyle as long as they need to.
You must name your spouse as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy for your spouse to receive payment.
Also, take the time to talk to your spouse about critical illness insurance, disability insurance and long-term care insurance to help supplement your family’s income if you or your partner become critically ill or disabled.
3. Update your will
As well as updating your insurance policies, you should update your will — or have one made, if you haven’t done so yet. If you die without a will, your property may not automatically go to your partner. To ensure your final wishes are carried out, have a will and up-to-date beneficiary designations.
4. The bottom line
As you enter this exciting new phase of your life, it’s important to have an honest discussion with your partner about money — how you earn it, how you spend it and how you protect it. It’s also helpful to review your financial plan with a professional financial advisor and tax professional, who can provide personalized information. Having a strategic conversation about money can help you start your new marriage on the right note.