January 7, 2010
The wedding is over, but your life as a couple has just begun. As a team working together for the first time, there are many adjustments you will have to make in the first year together. Of course, you must approach the small stuff like laundry duties and dishes, but one of your main priorities should be working to establish your financial foundation.
Something Old: When you get married, you bring with you your memories, traditions, habits and goals - including your attitude towards finances. Talk about your priorities and what really matters to each of you when it comes to money. It's important to communicate openly about your past and how it may play into your short and long term financial goals.
Something New: As newlyweds, you will need to do a lot of things related to the legal and financial ties of marriage. Make or update your will so the list of beneficiaries for your investment accounts and savings accounts include your spouse. Review your beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies. Also, if you changed your name, be sure to update your accounts. Next, calculate your combined net worth, develop a budget and decide on the process you will use to manage your financial affairs.
Something Borrowed: One of the first things you should do as a married couple is work to eliminate credit card debt so you can begin building a nest egg. After the big wedding, you may be better or worse off than the average American - but either way, credit card debt will only hold you back.
Something Blue: Don't forget to set aside an emergency fund for a rainy day. Develop a regular savings plan where you automatically defer a portion of your monthly earnings into a separate savings account. I blogged about the benefits of doing this in an earlier post.
As newlyweds, the excitement of life together may seem overwhelming at times, especially when it comes to your financial situation. But, if you work together to follow a few simple steps, you can surpass these challenges in order to establish a solid financial strategy that will carry you into the future.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).