The Financial Path to Marriage
Are you newly engaged like me? Or about to be. Or headed that way—wherever you and your partner are, finances and financial planning are worth addressing sooner rather than later.
Being a financial advisor puts me in a little bit of a unique situation with regard to our financial planning but my fiancée and I still discuss these very things on a regular basis because I know from experience it takes two to make it work. The reality is that relationship status wildly affects finances on a level we expect—like more groceries and higher utility bills—but there are additional financial tolls that may slip your mind while you’re planning your wedding. I want to help make sure we have all of our bases covered so when it comes time to make it official, we can enjoy the “honeymoon phase” for as long as possible.
Here are three questions you can (and should) ask your serious significant other today:
What will our shared budget look like?
At the most basic, you need to determine how your budget will work. Who is responsible for what? How much do each of you feel is appropriate to spend on things like eating out, travel and entertainment? Other things to consider are what you agree is a good amount to have in emergency savings. Typically, in couples, one is a spender and one is a saver. Figure out which role you play, and how you can complement one another to avoid financial discontent.
How can we prepare for our shared financial future?
Check to see if your partner already has a formal written financial plan and how your financial needs may be affected by getting married. Are you taking advantage of specific opportunities to save for retirement like getting free money or one simple idea to pump up your retirement? Are you prepared to cover you M.U.G. (mortgage, utilities and groceries) in the event things don’t go as planned? Saving, Investing and Protecting are the cornerstones to a healthy financial future. Once you start getting these pillars established, the final step is to plan for when you are gone. Create a will and testament to document your wishes.
Where will we keep our important documents?
Speaking of wills, it’s vital—especially in an emergency situation—to know where to locate your family’s important documents. Not only records of the account information for checking, savings, and investments; but also valuable items like passports, birth certificates, car titles, house deeds and more.
Studies have shown that fights over money and financial stress are the one of the leading causes of divorce. Planning for your financial future as a couple is more important than ever. For help creating a financial plan for this big life change, talk to one of our in-house experts. Our financial planners are here to help transitions be more about the joy and less about the stress.
Alex Borgardts is a CPA and Financial Advisor with CommunityAmerica Financial Solutions. He is part of our Financial Planning Group and can assist you with everything from creating a written financial plan to rolling over your 401(k) and maybe even some wedding advice as he is currently engaged and planning a wedding for June 2019.