Here’s what you two need to do after saying “I do”
The newlywed phase of your life together will be unlike anything you’ve experienced before. What used to be “his” and “hers” becomes “ours” and many things that were once separate become shared. And while you may be caught up in the bliss that follows your honeymoon, when life begins to return to normal, it’s necessary to take a good look at your financial situation. You and yours will need to make some decisions to ensure your future together will be as viable as possible:
1. Open a joint checking account
Although you’ve likely had separate accounts until now, it’s a good idea to set up a joint account so that both of you may access it to pay bills and monitor marital money. Some couples opt to keep their own accounts and set up a separate joint account that is solely used to handle household expenses.
2. Review your insurance policies
If you and your spouse do not have life insurance, it’s very important to get this set up as soon as you’ve settled in. You’ll want to make sure that you have coverage so that if anything happens, neither of you will be faced with financial strife. In addition, you’ll want to check your auto, health, and dental insurance policies and compare which one of you has the most cost effective policy that provides beneficial coverage. You can easily add your spouse to your policies and vice versa. If you don’t have disability coverage, it’s a good idea to look into options, especially now that someone other than yourself is depending on you.
3. Check your beneficiaries
If you have an IRA, 401k, a savings account, or any other type of retirement accounts, you’ll want to make sure that your new spouse is named the beneficiary. In the event that anything were to ever happen to you, your husband or wife could be excluded from receiving benefits if he/she is not set as a beneficiary.
4. Create a budget
Sounds obvious, but a lot of newlyweds neglect to sit down and actually plan out their finances and spending. Take some time to go over all of your monthly payments, your income, and how much disposable revenue you’ll have when you combine your pay. Doing this allows you to be strategic about saving for a house, vacations, new cars, or whatever you’re hoping to achieve together.
5. Put together an emergency fund
Unexpected things happen and it’s always preferable not to be caught off guard when they do. Think about what you’d do if your car died or you were laid off from work. Having some cash set aside will not only give you peace of mind, it will get you out of a bind when an emergency happens. Consider putting away a specified amount of money each week or month.
6. Create a will
It doesn’t matter how old you and your spouse are, a will is essential now that you’re married. If you already have a will, review it and make sure it is up to date (and includes your spouse as beneficiary). If not, consider getting help from a family attorney, financial planner, or look into will kits that are sold in stores.
7. Change your last name
Not all individuals take this step, but if you do, you must remember that there are numerous avenues to take. You have to apply for a new social security card and change the name on your driver’s license, passport, credit cards, and checking and savings accounts, among other things.
8. Talk about debt
Once you’re married, your spouse’s debt becomes yours as well. It’s important to be up front with each other about all outstanding loans, liens, and other debts. Once you’ve assessed how much debt you have combined, you can begin devising a plan to pay the debt down. You’ll want to do this as soon as possible, especially if you’re planning on buying a home together in the near future.
Getting married and beginning a new life with the one you love is one of the greatest moments you’ll ever experience. To make your life together the best it can be, make sure you take the time to address all financial factors that need consideration.
And remember, for home, auto, or life insurance coverage, turn to us. We offer a full range of insurance products for every aspect of your life and will be happy to work with you to create a customized solution for you and your spouse.