Financial Planning for Newlyweds
Happy Valentine's Day! Valentine’s Day represents love. Love and money can sometimes be a delicate balance. It can be especially hard when planning a wedding to also concentrate on the logistics of combining two lives.
Money disputes are often blamed as the main cause of marital problems, and many people put off talking about money until it IS a problem, so here are seven points we recommend discussing before you get married:
- Do you want to maintain separate property? Since Texas is a community property state, any property acquired during marriage belongs to both spouses. Property owned prior to marriage, or acquired by inheritance or gift during marriage, is separate property. Discuss with your financial advisor the consequences of maintaining separate property vs. converting to community property or allowing it to be commingled into community property.
- Are you bringing debt with you to the marriage? Create and discuss your personal net worth statements. Be honest if you carry debt and work together to build a plan to pay it off.
- How’s your credit? Log on to annualcreditreport.com for a free annual review of your credit report. If one of you has great credit and one doesn’t; setting up joint accounts can help build the other’s credit.
- Are you a spender or a saver? You may already know this about your partner, but discuss your outlook on saving and spending. Are fabulous vacations important to you or would you prefer to retire as young as possible? Review how you and your partner might compromise.
- How will you handle finances? Many couples prefer to pool their money, but there’s no evidence that combining finances is better than keeping them separate. The key is to stay organized no matter which structure you choose.If you choose to manage separate finances, keep a household budget.
- What are your financial goals? Talk through what you want to achieve in the next five years, over the next ten, and the rest of your life. Revisit this conversation regularly and continue to focus on your shared goals.
- Who will be responsible for managing investments? The partner who handles daily finances may not be the person who wants to manage investments. Is one of you better suited to take the lead on executing your investment strategy? To reduce the risk of souring your relationship over investment decisions, consider working with a financial advisor who has a fiduciary responsibility to both of you. You’ll learn more about individual and combined tolerance for market risk, how to define and quantify your investment goals, and how best to reach those goals.
These financial discussions may not be romantic, but remember the old Benjamin Franklin saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Having these difficult conversations early on can help smooth the path for a happier marriage.
Give us a call or reach out to Morgan and Kacie at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to schedule a newlywed financial planning session!