Planning your future after the wedding
Marriage is one the major milestones in a person's life. In addition to all the lifestyle changes, marriage also brings a host of changes to both your and your new spouse's financial situation as well.
If you haven't done this already, then certainly once the wedding cake is gone and the honeymoon is over, there are several important adjustments you need to make to your personal financial goals and retirement plan. Obviously, you are now saving and investing for the future financial well-being of someone other than yourself.
As always, with every life step, begin your future with a plan.
- Who does what? It's time to divide up the chores. There's laundry, yard maintenance, cleaning, and, of course, a lot of different financial responsibilities. Who's going to balance the checkbook? Who will pay the bills? Who's going to keep track of investments? You don't necessarily have to divide these tasks and take exclusive ownership if them. Just make sure you have some system in place so that these important tasks get done. You can divide them by strengths and weaknesses. Or pick randomly from a hat. This isn't about who's the better person in financial matters. It's about taking care of your joint responsibilities together. Hopefully, you discussed these items before you were married, but if you didn't then you need to now.
- Next, revise your budget from your single days to reflect your new marital and financial status. If you do not have a budget, there's no better time to start. Set up a budget that covers both short-term, basic needs such as housing, food, clothing and transportation, as well as one that covers such long-term needs as a larger home or apartment, a new car, vacations, etc.
- Change your beneficiaries. Go through each of your accounts that are held in beneficiary form - retirement plans, IRAs, insurance, etc. - and review the beneficiaries listed on each. Be sure to change the beneficiaries to your new spouse if you want him or her to receive these funds should you die.
- If your spouse does not participate in an employer-sponsored plan, encourage him or her to enroll as quickly as possible. If she doesn't have a plan available, get her to start contributing to a Roth IRA.
- Figure in your new combined income when determining how much to set aside each month in your retirement plans and how to allocate money for expenses.
- Your life situation has changed and your insurance coverage probably hasn't. Your spouse may have some insurance policies as well. Compare all of your insurance policies (auto, health, life, disability, etc.) to make sure they don't overlap, and more importantly to make sure that each of you has the best protection possible.
Other required actions
In addition to a plan, your changed marital status might require you to make a few changes.
- Obtain a certified copy of your marriage license
- Register your new last name and address, if applicable
- Your employer
- Social Security Administration
- Internal Revenue Service (Form 8822)
- U.S. Passport Agency
- U.S. Post Office
- Utility companies (phone, electric, gas, etc.)
- Department of Motor Vehicles (driver's license, vehicle registration)
- Financial organizations (bank, credit cards, retirement plan, etc.)
- Voter registration
- Medical organizations (medical plan, dental, physician)
- Membership organizations (clubs and associations)
- Insurance companies (auto, health, life, home)