Congratulations on your engagement or recent or pending nuptials! There is always so much to think about when getting married, but the crucial financial conversation is a necessary component for your foundation to live happily ever after. Think of it as a “date night” that you should have during the engagement or very early on in your marriage. Both individuals should be open, honest, and thorough.
Here are 5 tips on what to discuss during this important conversation together:
1. Discuss your financial goals and habits – Talk about any savings goals and/or debt payoff goals. Your habits include how you spend money, how you save money, and how you decide on large purchases. Don’t forget to set some financial goals together such as emergency fund (short term), down payments (intermediate term), paying a child’s education (long term).
2. Show each other the numbers – Review all financial documents together this includes, bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, all debt, and sources of income. Also, decide how you want to set up your accounts (joint, all separate, or a combination of the two). Determine who will pay what bills and from what accounts if necessary.
3. Create a budget – Together, create a budget. Hopefully you both have your own individual budget that you can use as a starting point. If not, there are a variety of sources to provide budget templates/worksheets for free online or the library. At minimum, on a monthly basis review your budget together.
4. Discuss with professionals – Meet with a tax professional to determine what is the best method for filing taxes (jointly or separately). Meet with a financial professional to help with meeting the financial goals, updating beneficiaries, and reviewing all types of insurance policies or purchasing new ones. Designate power of attorney, health care power of attorney, and update or develop a will.
5. Health insurance – Most companies won’t make one wait until enrollment period at to update health insurance after a life changing event such as marriage. Review both plans and determine what will be the best course of action.
6. Remember to take time out to date each other during your planning stages.
Love is a powerful drug all by itself so don’t let financial
secrets and/or woes cause it to become ineffective!