Worth Knowing: Getting Married?
Time to talk about finances with your partner.
Getting married is one of the biggest and most life-changing decisions you’ll ever make. In addition to all the wedding excitement, there are many mundane, yet very important, changes that come with married life.
Your joint financial life is a key area to consider before and soon after your wedding. Some issues may be easy and obvious, but others may take some thought.
So, what should you and your partner be talking about now?
As with any conversation in a relationship, begin with an open and honest discussion. When two lives become one, your individual past financial decisions can affect your partner and your joint financial future.
Your new partnership makes it essential to be completely open, ask the right questions and be willing to listen.
Plenty of people have personal debt. Whether it’s student loans or a credit card balances, you must disclose and discuss your debts with your partner. Having student loan debt is normal, but it’s a bad surprise to discover about your new spouse after you’re married!
Sit down together and talk about your plans to handle all outstanding debt—student loans, credit card, car loans and the like. And discuss your credit history and how to ensure good credit scores as a married couple. You’ll need good credit when you apply for a mortgage or car loan as a couple.
This may also be a good time to discuss any assets you have and thoughts about sharing those, as well as how to share future expenses including paying off prior debts.
You may be surprised to know I’ve spoken to many engaged couples who haven’t discussed their plans for a family. Having children is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, so it’s important you’re both on the same page before saying “I do.”
Even if you have discussed general family plans, there are many related details to cover. Will one of you stay home to avoid the cost of day care? Will your children attend public or private schools? The best course of action is a thorough discussion ahead of time.
After you’re married, protection planning—life insurance, emergency funds, disability insurance—becomes more important than ever, especially if you plan to start a family and buy a home. Could you or your spouse handle monthly expenses if one income was no longer coming in? Perhaps. But could you also pay college costs for your children in the years to come?
Consider insurance as a good way to protect yourselves from the unforeseen. In case of an accident or health issues, life insurance could help pay off your mortgage, cover living expenses, and ensure a college education for your kids. All those issues could be more difficult with one less source of income.
It’s never too early to start planning for retirement. Developing a budget with your partner can determine whether you meet your long-term goals … or not. The best time to begin is when you’re young to set yourselves up for success and give yourselves the widest range of options for the future.
Developing a financial plan can we done online or with the help of a professional. Consider making a plan as a roadmap to your future goals.
Navigating the roadmap of your personal finances can be difficult. It’s important to have people in your corner who can help along the way. Whether it’s a trusted ally like a parent, friend or other personal relation, it’s good to have someone knowledgeable to discuss these matters with.
If you don’t yet have someone you feel comfortable speaking with or if your situation is complex, hiring a financial professional can be a great option as well.
Be sure to take the time to start your marriage on a solid financial foundation.
Andrew Scheppegrell, Financial Advisor and Director of Business Development, Brumbaugh Wealth Management, 415 Eagleview Blvd., Ste. 110, Exton, PA 19341. 610.458.2495.
All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful.
Registered Representatives offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Broker-Dealer and a Registered Investment Advisor. Advisory services also offered through AdvisorNet Wealth Management. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other entity.