So you’ve jumped the broom and unpacked the boxes in your new home. As a newly married couple, the honeymoon phase should be a time to blissfully settle into this new life together. With every lovely moment comes the elephant in the room, and this one needs to be addressed. We’re talking about setting your marriage up for financial success. For 2022, The Knot reported that only 41% of women felt confident in their ability to make smart financial decisions when compared to their husbands, so ladies, this one’s for you.
For the sake of keeping the peace, some of us may hide or withdraw when it comes to financial discussions, but those days are done. You’re married now and as with all things moving forward, practicing better money habits is a must and it all starts with communication. It’s the foundation of all good relationships so starting early often makes the difference in avoiding problems and addressing matters beforehand. So get comfy ladies, sit down with your spouse and each of you should set a clear view of what you both have in terms of debts and assets. Don’t be afraid to check your credit score and review the loans you have to repay. There are plenty of apps available to give you a full view of your finances, it all starts with communication but actions as we know, speak louder than words. Creating an action plan for your finances together takes one easy step.
This may be where things can get overwhelming, but you’re not alone in this. Facing your finances isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Now that you’ve combined your finances, take a deep look at your debt and assets, and don’t be afraid of what you see. If you have student loans, see if you can get them deferred while you set up a repayment plan. Clean your financial skeletons with debt consolidation and avoid zombie debt, yes it’s an odd term but it’s important to be aware of it so you can bury it for good.
Organizing your finances is a foundational step toward financial success in marriage and with the help of automation apps and tools organizing your finances is less of a burden. All you have to do is plug in a few details and let the app do its work. Keep in mind, not everything is automated, there are some things you have to manually track and update. The next step to getting your finances in order could benefit not only you and your partner but the family you build together as well. We’ve touched on this briefly for couples considering this as an option, but as mentioned before, you’ll be doing everything together from now on, so in mapping out your financial plan now’s the time to get serious and combine your finances.
Keeping things separate and paying equally down the middle for joint expenses may be a bit of a hassle for some of us more prone to financial fumbles. Combining finances can be a more practical approach when done with intention. Being intentional starts the same; communicate what you have and what you can contribute. Allocating a percentage of your income pre-taxed towards a joint account is a start but there are other matters when combining your finances.
Employer benefits tend to be one of the more forgotten areas newlyweds forget to update. There’s plenty of paperwork that comes with marriage, but updating your filing status and your social security for your employer is a segue to updating your benefits. There are some employer benefits that many people overlook, so it’s worth taking the time to check out how adding a spouse to your plan can change your contributions.
Most plans require you to make changes within 60 days following your nuptials. Depending on your enrollment status for health insurance, whether it be active or passive, it’s best to review with your partner and figure out how long does open enrollment last to update plans on time. Whether or not you choose to change your status when filing, can impact the credits you receive. It’s important to learn how your status could impact your partner when filing. There are benefits to filing married, but you have the option to file joint or separate on your taxes so it’s worth it, in the long run, to consider combining finances and filing jointly.
Protecting Your Investments:
We talked about communication, being open and honest about your finances, getting organized, and combining your finances. All of these methods can become routine when applied regularly and a routine is what we’re looking for when managing finances together. We live in a digital age, and as such, monitoring your investments is the crucial piece to set up for financial success together.
Protecting your investments can mean a few things for different people, keeping an eye on how this stock or another may be fairing in today’s market might come to mind. In the same tune, actively managing your financial investments can be done with help from a financial planner or any number of tools you may grow accustomed to using. Check your feed, there’s so much time spent scrolling through life hacks and how-to’s, then setting some time aside to check in on any alerts or repayment updates should be as painless as scrolling your social feeds.
Monitoring your investments, as with the other tips mentioned, comes with intention. Being intentional about not only where you put your time, but actively making the time to budget and review the overall health of your investments will make this new chapter of your life all the more engaging. With that, you should feel a bit more confident in laying everything on the table with your partner. So celebrate! And here’s to building the best of your financial future together.