5 Money Tips for Newlyweds
Your Financial Wedded-Bliss Tutorial
Congratulations on your marriage!
You’ve probably received loads of advice from friends and relatives about what it takes to build a happy marriage. But did you know that numerous researchers have found that money is one of the leading causes of marital stress? Planning, budgeting, and making smart choices together—now—can turn your shared financial life into a source of strength.
Get started by following these simple financial tips:
Discuss your financial “styles” and current debts
Make a list of current financial obligations and share it with your partner. Then have a discussion about how you budget and spend. Are you a penny pincher? Or do you feel that regular indulgences, like monthly massages and daily lunches out, make life better? Talk about what your shared financial style should look like and discuss the spending habits you can each cultivate to make any agreed upon changes a reality.
Set savings and other financial goals
It’s likely that your vision for your marriage may include a home, paying off any lingering debt, and saving for retirement. Write down your goals and think of how much it’ll take to achieve them. Take a realistic—but ambitious—look at how much you can devote each week or month to making your dreams a reality. It may inspire you to tighten your belt or allocate savings in a different way. For example, putting away 10 to 15% of your income for retirement now may hurt, but it will make a huge, positive impact on your golden years.
Make a budget
Now it’s time to create a budget that suits your shared financial style—and accounts for your financial obligations and savings goals. Look at your monthly bank statements to ensure you budget for everything that’s routine. It’s especially easy to forget about things that are billed automatically, such as entertainment and transportation services. Spot and cancel duplicate services, and explore whether family plans and combined accounts for things like auto insurance, fitness clubs, and mobile phones can save you money.
Protect your new family
Insurance protects you when you need it the most. Review all your current policies, including renters or homeowners, health, auto, and disability insurance. Redundant coverage is wasted money. You may also find savings in having both of you on the same employer-sponsored health plan. Look at your health plans and run the numbers to find the best option. It’s also time to consider life insurance. Proceeds from life insurance have some tax advantages and can sustain your spouse.
Review your estate plans
If you’re young and haven’t accrued many assets, you may not think you need an estate plan. Not so. You will find that estate planning can be surprisingly straightforward. Newlyweds with significant assets and complex questions should consider discussing estate plans with an experienced attorney. But for the rest of us, two simple steps lay the groundwork for an estate plan. First, make a will. Your state bar association’s website is likely a good source of the basic information you’ll need to get started. The second step is even simpler: Review your financial accounts, such as your retirement and savings accounts, and update your beneficiary designations.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Trying to do your shared financial budgeting and planning in a day or a weekend could leave your nerves frayed. Simply set aside an hour or two each week over the next few months to work through the list above and you’ll be headed down the path to a long and happy financial life together.