Congratulations on your impending nuptials! Marriage is a beautiful celebration of love and the joining of families. It’s full of fun family traditions that allow you to share your special day with those you love and care about most.
One thing that’s often overlooked in wedding planning could be the most important of all: talking about your finances. I know you’re probably thinking, “But what about the fun parts like searching for the perfect venue or gown,” and trust me, you’ll be able to enjoy that soon enough. It’s important to remember that marriage is financially binding. Building a new life together will require some thought, so before you’re ready to walk down the aisle and say your “I do’s,” you may want to consider planning your budget first.
When Two Budgets Become One
Budgeting for yourself can be challenging, so imagine how much more difficult it could be to create a budget with your soon-to-be spouse. That’s why it’s important to sit down with your partner and lay it all out in the open before your big day.
Start by talking about your current financial position including your monthly earnings, your current debts, your savings, and your monthly expenditures. It’s a good idea to disclose one another’s credit scores so there are no surprises down the road when you apply for joint vehicle loans or a mortgage. If one of you have poor credit, come up with a plan together for how you’ll work on improving it. Then, discuss what your financial goals are. Are there other outstanding debts like student loans or credit card debt that you’d like to pay off? If so, discuss your plans for paying them off sooner rather than later.
If you’ve got dreams of buying a home or starting a family, be sure to start saving now. The earlier the better. You may also want to look at your budget and daily expenses and decide where you can cut costs. Figure out where you can save money or eliminate costs completely. For example, if you’re paying for a gym membership but haven’t set foot inside it for months, then it's probably the perfect time to cancel your membership and save a few bucks.
When it comes to your budget, keep track of it in whatever way you’re most comfortable with. Whether you prefer an electronic method or good old-fashioned pen and paper, just be sure the two of you are having regular conversations to make sure you’re both on the same page. Don’t worry if you find that your budget needs to be tweaked periodically—it’s completely normal and happens more often than you may think. Or, if you find that you’re tweaking your budget pretty frequently, then you may need a complete overhaul depending on your budgeting progress and how soon you’re hoping to achieve your financial goals.
Not All Policies are Created Equally
One of the perks to being married, aside from committing yourself to the love of your life, of course, is that you’re eligible to be on each other’s insurance policies, which can save you a significant amount of money.
Compare health insurance policies to see which one of you gets more bang for your buck. If you’re planning on making your folks grandparents anytime soon, consider checking out the costs of family policies, too. Since marriage is considered a life-changing event, adding a spouse to your policy means you won’t need to wait for an open enrollment period.
Once you’ve figured out the health portion of your insurance, shop around for car insurance policies. Most offer multiple car discounts. Additionally, depending on whether you’re planning on renting or purchasing a home, many insurance companies will bundle the quotes for extra savings.
Since you’re very close to officially having someone that depends on you, you may want to consider shopping for credit life and credit disability insurance and/or life insurance if you don’t have coverage yet. This will ensure that your spouse is protected in the event the unexpected were to happen. It's not necessarily a fun topic of conversation, but it is one that’s necessary. Plus, it’s also a good idea to purchase this type of insurance early on since you can lock in better rates possible when you’re younger.
'Til Death Do Us Part
While we’re on a not-so-fun topic of protecting our loved ones when we’re no longer here, let’s talk wills. Again, no one wants to think or talk about death, but ultimately, it’s a fact of life, and having a will is a crucial document that both you and your spouse should have.
You can use a lawyer to draft your will or create one online for much less. Your will should include a list of all your assets and the how they will be divvied up among. If you have children, it should also designate who will get custody should the unthinkable. And don’t forget, you’ll want to update your will any time you’re faced with a life-changing event.
Happily Ever After
Having these conversations before your big day will help start your marriage off on the right foot. The more often you openly discuss your finances, the easier it’ll be to have them down the road. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re on the same page with your finances, making it a good time to start putting your time and energy into building your new life together and focusing on the details you’re putting into your special day (hint, hint, the more fun parts of wedding planning like I mentioned earlier).
Looking to set up a joint account with your soon-to-be spouse? Give us a call and we’ll help walk you through the process: 484-223-4200.