March 17, 2021
Getting married? Congratulations! By now, you have probably sat down with your partner to talk about finances, like whether you’ll open a joint account. So when the big day comes, try to live in the moment and take a few moments afterward to enjoy your new status as a couple. But don’t wait too long, because you could miss out on money-saving adjustments by waiting too long after the big day. Some of these to-dos have a time limit – sometimes as short as two weeks after your wedding! Here are some of the most important financial moves to make after marriage.
Insurance policies often have limits as to when you can make changes – typically 30 days, but sometimes as little as two weeks. Make sure you go over your options beforehand, so you know what changes to make. Some great questions to ask include:
- Is it less expensive for one partner to move onto the other’s health insurance?
- Are there any children that now need health coverage?
- Which insurance plan has better coverage, or which saves money for other goals?
- Does one insurance plan have better parental leave coverage, in the event you wish to add children to your family?
While you will probably be combining things like homeowner’s or renter’s insurance naturally, another issue to consider is auto insurance. Will it save you money to combine policies? Many companies offer multi-car discounts.
If you and your spouse do not currently have life insurance policies, now is a great time to get them – especially if you have children! If you do have life insurance, make sure to update your beneficiaries.
Make a Will
No one wants to think about it, but in case of death of one or both partners, it is important to have a will set up. Having a will is doubly important if you already have children. Putting a will in place will make things much easier if the worst happens.
Calculate Your Net Worth As a Couple
Now is the time to lay your entire financial story out on the table, if you haven’t already. The clearer you are about where you stand financially, the better off you will be long-term. List outstanding debts, any payments owed to previous spouses (such as child support), all income, investments, and all accounts (including retirement accounts). Use this as a springboard to put together your financial goals and your day-to-day budget.
Outline Your Financial Goals
Money means different things to different people: security, power, or perhaps the ability to travel, start a company, or buy fun things. Talking about and agreeing on your financial goals as a couple is extremely beneficial, as it can help you avoid arguments and get you and your partner on the same page. When you and your partner are aligned on what you want from your finances, it will make reaching those goals that much more rewarding.
Decide How to Manage Your Accounts
It is no longer assumed that all couples will have joint bank accounts. However, there are some benefits to having at least one joint account. Managing household expenses can be much easier with an account that both partners can access and contribute to. But there can be some drawbacks as well. If one person has a significantly lower credit score than the other, it could affect the offers the couple has access to.
Create a Budget Together
Even if you have separate accounts, a joint household budget is essential to reaching your financial goals (and maintaining your relationship)! Talk with your partner and be sure to prioritize your joint financial goals in setting up your annual and monthly budgets.
Changing Your Name
If one or both partners choose to change their name, it will be important to take steps to ensure your creditors, financial institutions, and other entities are aware of the name change. This process can take time, so don’t delay. It may be helpful to make a list of all places and documents that may require official name change information, such as:
- Social Security card
- Driver's license
- Vehicle registration, lease agreements, and other documents
- Creditors (including any outstanding student loans)
- Financial institutions
- Voter registration
If you’re taking one, we wish you and your spouse a very happy honeymoon and a fruitful start to your life together! And if you have any other questions about your finances as a couple, our bankers are happy to help. Stop by any Hills Bank location or get in touch with us online.