June is the month many celebrate their wedding day. I too was a June bride! As we race around preparing for the BIG day, many newlyweds don’t discuss the days, weeks and months after the wedding. Finances are one of the biggest reasons for divorce. It is important to discuss how you will handle your finances as a couple.
Here are some tips:
Discuss and Set up a Budget
A wonderful way to start off your marriage is to live within your means by setting up a budget. Sit down together and make a list of your monthly expenses and how much income you have together. We have the major must have ones—rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities and then there are the ones that we could live without if need be –cable TV and eating out.
It is important to know where you are spending your money each month. You want to have enough extra money each month to save for vacations or other splurges you may want to have as a couple. If you spend more than you make, you’ll need to see where you can cut back on your expenses or find a way to earn a little extra to pay off those debts like credit cards.
Insurance is a must to consider when you get married. A family health insurance plan may save you money as will having all your vehicles on one auto insurance policy. Homeowners and/or renters insurance is needed to cover all the possessions you now have as a couple. You want to protect all those wedding gifts! Life insurance is important to have when you get married especially is one spouse does not work and relies on the other spouse for income (especially if you plan on having children).
Getting married can lower your taxes. If one of you isn’t working, then the other can add them as an allowance on their taxes which would reduce the withholdings, so you’d bring more money home each paycheck.
I see many clients who live like roommates even when they are married. Having joint checking, savings, and emergency accounts together is worth discussing as a newlywed couple. Once you combine your income and start paying expenses as a couple, give yourself some time to see where you are budget-wise.
Discuss your individual and joint goals and start saving for them together. The goals could be saving for a down payment on a house, buying a new car, or funding retirement accounts. The main objective is to have open discussions so you both work towards the same goals.
Getting married and combining households is an adjustment. It is important to have conversations about your finances to insure you have a healthy marriage to last a lifetime.
If you need to discuss your finances, please contact one of our Bond & Botes attorneys for a free consultation.