Brandon and I had a four-month engagement before our wedding for no other reason than that once we decided to get married, we just wanted to be married.
Wedding planning is one of the most exciting times of someone’s life. And needless to say, planning your dream wedding in four months takes a lot of planning and preparation.
And the planning isn’t over once the way day is over. Instead, you move from the wedding planning checklist to the newlywed financial checklist.
Unfortunately, many people go into marriage without thinking of the financial implications. There’s far more to marriage and finances than we can discuss in one article, we can at least cover the basics.
If you’re a newlywed or plan to get married soon, make sure to do these five financial tips for newlyweds.
Decide how you’ll manage your newlywed finances together
There’s no right or wrong way to manage your finances as a married couple. What really matters is that you come up with a system that works for you and that you have open communication about money. Here are a few different methods you can use to manage your money together.
- Joint finances: You and your partner go all-in and combine your bank accounts. With this money management style, the two of you have joint checking and savings accounts. All money flows into and out of the same accounts.
- Separate accounts: You and your partner each maintain your own bank accounts. You decide together how you’ll split expenses and who will be responsible for covering each bill.
- Joint and separate accounts: You and your partner have a joint checking bank account where your income flows into and expenses flow out of. You also each maintain a separate checking account for personal spending.
Read More: The Best Budgeting Apps for Couples to Manage Money Together
Update your insurance coverages and beneficiaries
One of the first things you’ll want to do after getting married is to update your insurance policies and beneficiaries. You want to make sure that if an emergency happens, you’re both prepared.
- Life insurance: If you don’t currently have life insurance, now is a good time to set one up. While no one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, you don’t want to leave your partner unprepared if something happens to you. If you already have life insurance, be sure you both update your name and beneficiary as necessary.
- Health insurance: If one of you will be joining the other’s health insurance policy, check with your employer to figure out what paperwork they’ll need to make that happen. If you each have health insurance through your employer, you can look at the policies and see who has a better or most cost-effective policy.
- Car insurance: While your car insurance cover might be easy to overlook after you get married, this one is important! If you don’t already have a joint policy, now is a good time to set one up. If you do have a joint policy, be sure to update your name and marital status. When I got married, my insurance premium went down considerably!
Update your financial accounts
After you get married, you and your partner might decide to combine your finances and have joint bank accounts. You might also decide to add one another as authorized users on your credit cards. Even if you choose to maintain separate accounts, you can still update the beneficiary on your accounts.
Your checking, savings, retirement, and investment accounts can have beneficiaries listed so that if something happens to you, the money in the accounts will go to your spouse.
Create an estate plan
No one enjoys talking about one of you dying right after you’ve gotten married, but it’s a necessary discussion. It’s important that both of you have an estate plan in place so that if something happens, there’s a clear plan for your assets.
One question to ask yourself when estate planning is: how can we simplify the process in the event that one of us passes away? As someone who has been the executor of an estate, I can’t emphasize enough just how important this is.
Estate planning is even more important if you have children, either with your current partner or from a previous relationship. In that case, you’ll want to set up guardianship for your child(ren) in case something happens to you, as well as make sure they’ll be taken care of financially.
You may want to consult an attorney to help establish a will or trust, medical directive, and power of attorney. They can help you determine what steps you can put in place to protect each other and other loved ones.
Set joint financial goals
Now that you’re married, it’s time to set some joint financial goals together. While many of the financial tips for newlyweds on this list are serious and, frankly, a little depressing, this one is actually fun!
Setting financial goals together is all about dreaming about and making a plan for your future. Sit down together and do some brainstorming about what you want your life to look like one, five, ten, and even twenty years from now. Where do you want to live? Do you want to travel? Buy a home? Start a business? Retire early? Will you have children?
Once you have that vision, write down all of the goals you would have to reach to get there. While some of these goals may seem a long way off, now is the time to start preparing your finances for them!
Read my entire guide on how to set financial goals to help you get started.
Getting married is an exciting time. Allow yourself to be swept up in it for a while! But make sure that once you tie the knot, you take time to complete these financial tips for newlyweds.