If you are newly married, or planning on getting married soon, be sure to allocate some time to considering some of the financial aspects of marriage. Marriage is a big step and will change how you think about and handle your finances, and it can also be the source of anguish in a marriage.
Many couples have some disagreements over how much money each person is spending, either on themselves or overall. It may take some time to find a mutual comfort level of spending. The key is to discuss your spending before it becomes a big issue.
A common problem couples face is when one spouse ends up completely uninformed about their financial status. Even if one of you is more comfortable handling the finances, be sure to take time to keep the other one informed. Not knowing how much money is in the checking account can lead to overdraft fees and potentially a feeling of being taken advantage of.
As you grow as a married couple, be sure to have discussions about long term financial goals. Knowing how each other feels about saving for retirement, taking risks with your investments or how much current financial sacrifice you are willing to make saving for a child’s college education is important. Discussing these things may not only avoid a problem, but may actually bring you closer together.
When you marry you need to consider how your beneficiary designations are set up on your retirement plan, IRAs and life insurance policies. You will probably want to designate your new spouse as beneficiary. You also need to notify the Social Security Administration of your new status. If you are changing your name, you will also need to notify institutions like your bank or credit union, employer, Department of Motor Vehicles and companies where you have accounts.
Getting married is a big step in your personal life. It is also a big step in your financial life. Get to know your partner financially before you are married, discuss your finances often and you may find that these financial discussions will bring you even closer together as you dream of your future.