by Edward Jones, IMDiversity Featured Employer
This Edition: “Newlyweds, New Financial Future: Financial Checklist for Newlyweds”
Impending wedded bliss for most couples consists of detailed planning for the big event and all the frills that come with it. Registering for china, finding a florist, and getting the right reception hall all make the “to do” list. But an important step couples should not overlook is a discussion about finances and goals for their financial future. With financial hardships increasingly playing a role in the dissolution of marriages, it is a wise decision to have a “money talk” as part of your pre-wedding checklist or shortly after the nuptials.
Now is the time to critically evaluate the financial issues you will face and reassess crucial documents that could affect your financial future in your new life together.
Documents to Review
As you gaze over potential place settings, focus on the important documents that will need attention shortly after the wedding.
Review your insurance coverage now that you have a combined household. The coverage may be too little, too much or a duplication of coverage. Make sure any adjustments you make will still help to protect the combined household assets and not fall short when you need it the most.
If you are considering a name change due to your change in marital status, get in touch with the Social Security Administration (www.ssa.gov) to secure a new social security card. It is a necessity for identification but it also helps the SSA credit your earnings properly to your retirement account. Speaking of a name change, don’t forget to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles and change the name on your driver’s license or state issued ID card.
Change your beneficiaries on all investment accounts, savings accounts, 401(k) plans, IRAs, insurance polices, and any other accounts if you want your spouse to have ownership of these assets in the event anything were to happen to you.
Update your will or create one. Get it in writing what you and your new spouse want to do with your estate and update it again as you add dependents.
Now that you have your documents in order, put your financial history and goals in order, too.
Review your credit card debt and make plans to pay that debt off. This is the perfect time to obtain your personal credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies. Contact TransUnion at (800) 888-4213, Equifax at (800) 685-1111, and Experian at (888) 397-3742. Don’t be surprised if you see some financial concerns in your future spouse’s background. Many couples do not fully disclose their financial situations to their intended.
Calculate your combined net worth, meaning how much do you owe to creditors in debt as opposed to how much income and assets you have coming into the household. Use documents such as credit card statements, bank statements, investment statements or any other relevant documents to assess your financial health as a couple. Make decisions on how to improve or maximize this, depending on your net worth calculations.
Develop a household budget. Take a hard look at where you spend money and fashion a budget that calculates your combined income and subtracts your combined monthly expenses and debt. If you have any money left over, decide how that money should be distributed. Perhaps an emergency fund, investments, or savings account would be right for you. If you see your income does not cover your expenses, take steps to rectify this imbalance as soon as possible.
Decide who will manage the bill paying duties. Who in the couple is strongest in this area? Once you decide who takes on this task, always evaluate your system and make adjustments so that all bills are paid on time and minimize any adverse affects on your credit ratings.
What financial goals do you have for your future together? You may have financial differences due to background and upbringing that should be addressed when deciding on the right financial plan for the future. Map out what you both want to achieve short-term and long-term with your finances. Enlisting the services of a investment professional to assist you with this task may be helpful.
A walk down the isle is a magical day that couples plan meticulously for regardless of how big or how small that ceremony may be. Careful and thorough planning to safeguard financial health in the union could be the next best thing to saying, “I Do”. Consider contacting a properly licensed investment professional like the investment representatives at Edward Jones for assistance in preparing for your new financial life together as a couple.
Serving the individual investor since 1871, Edward Jones was one of the first financial services firms to recognize that a sound financial future should be available to everyone. Edward Jones is online at www.edwardjones.com and around the corner in your neighborhood.
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