Marital Money Bliss:  What to Lock Down Before Tying the Knot

October 3, 2017

Getting married isn’t all about planning the wedding.  It’s also about planning for a happy, healthy
financial future.  Here’s where to start.  As you’re planning your wedding, take time to plan your
financial future as well.  Discussing your finances and goals with your partner can help you build a
happier, more fulfilling life together.  The old saying about marriage is true when it comes to money
too:  good communication is key. 

  
Six Topics to Start Your Discussion

Attitudes toward money
Some people see savings account as security blankets; others see them as ways to pay for
trips to Tahiti.  If you and your partner view money differently, make sure your financial
plans respect both of your financial needs and preferences.


Contingency plans
What happens if life takes an unexpected turn?  You and your partner should have plans in   
     ‐One of you wanting to leave his or her job to spend more time with family
     ‐One of you wanting to take a job in another location
     ‐One of you losing your ability to work and earn an income due to a disability


Level of debt
Have an honest discussion about your debts.  “Marrying someone with excessive debt can
have serious repercussions”, says financial advisor Harry James of Lockton Financial Advisors
based in Kansas City, MO.  James notes that a partner’s credit issues may make it more
difficult to qualify for a mortgage or other loan.  It can also prevent you from contributing
the necessary amounts to your savings and retirement accounts.  If debt is an issue, make it
a priority to pay your bills, starting with the ones that charge the highest interest. 

  
Joint or separate accounts
Some couples merge their finances completely when they marry, while others prefer to
keep them separate.  If you plan to maintain your own accounts, consider the following
approaches:
     ‐Open a joint checking account to cover shared costs, with each person depositing a fixed
amount each month.
     ‐Split bill‐paying responsibility based on each partner’s income.

Realistic budgets
Excessive spending can wreak financial and emotional havoc on a marriage.  Avoid this
problem by creating a monthly spending plan and updating it regularly.  A smart budget
should:
     ‐Help you save for retirement by paying yourself first
     ‐Include short and long‐term goals
     ‐Allocate funds for housing, transportation, debt repayment, and miscellaneous items in amounts that are agreeable to both of you
     ‐Allow each of you some independent spending


Estate planning
Now is the time to decide how your assets would be distributed, should something happen
to you or your partner.  Take the following steps:
     ‐Review the beneficiary designations of all your accounts, including 401(k) plans
     ‐Create a will if you don’t have one.  If you do, update it
     ‐Review how much each of you depends on the other’s income, and consider purchasing life insurance that could replace that amount

These discussions aren’t just about money‐‐‐they’re about making the most of your life together. Get the conversation going today, call Jim Croft at 800-360-3000, to make an easy insurance plan!

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