You Budgeted For Your Wedding, But What About Post-Wedding Financial Planning?
You’ve already said your vows, “For better or for worse… For richer or for poorer.” While you’re in this for the long haul, the goal is to be in the better and richer stages for the majority of your marriage. The good news is that you’ve already successfully budgeted for your wedding. So you’re on the right track, but now you and your partner must set your sights on post-wedding financial planning. Check out these eight tips to help start your first year of wedded bliss on solid financial footing.
1. Have Open Communication About Your Finances
Hopefully, you’ve discussed some aspects of finances before you tied the knot. But if not, there’s no time like the present. It’s essential for both your marriage and your financial future to have open communication regarding your finances. Some key topics to discuss right away are what accounts you have open, how much debt you owe, and what both of your expectations are regarding how money should be handled. Once you’ve had this initial discussion, both of you will need to make comprises as you continue to keep an open line of communication as the two of you build healthy financial practices for your future.
Here are some questions newlyweds should discuss early on.
- How much is your salary?
- How much debt do you have?
- What is your credit score?
- Does your workplace provide benefits?
2. Create Financial Goals as a Couple
Once you’ve started an open line of communication about your finances, it’s an excellent time to sit down as a couple and create a set of financial goals. What are your short term financial goals? What are your long term financial goals? The beginning of your marriage is a great time to put pen to paper and write these financial goals down.
Here are some questions you should cover as you create your financial goals?
- What are some big purchases we want to make as a couple?
- How can we reduce our debt?
- How much money do we want to save for nonessential things like vacations and entertainment?
- What are our retirement plans and goals?
3. Stick to a Budget
The next order of business as a newly married couple is sticking to a budget. This is the time to make a monthly plan to create a realistic monthly budget. How much money will be allocated for food, eating out, and entertainment each month? How much can you spend without consulting with your spouse, $100, $500, or maybe even $1000? These are all questions you should cover as you design a financial budget for your new life together.
Here are some questions to discuss while making a budget.
- How much money will we put in savings each month?
- How much money will we allocate toward nonessential expenses each month?
- What is the dollar amount we can spend without consulting each other?
- Who will primarily be in charge of paying bills and tracking the monthly budget?
4. Build an Emergency Fund
“Whatever can happen, will happen.” Another important aspect of personal finance is creating an emergency fund. You and your spouse should put this near the top of your discussion on finances early on in your marriage. How much money would you realistically need to have set aside for monthly expenses if something unexpected should arise? A good rule of thumb is to have about three to six months worth of monthly expenses set aside in an emergency fund.
What type of “emergencies” are there? Well, that can depend on circumstances. Emergency funds are great funds to handle unexpected events such as medical bills, car repairs, or home repairs.
5. Discuss Bank Account Options
Another important discussion to have with your spouse is over bank account options. There are both pros and cons to opening a joint account and to maintaining your individual accounts once you’re married. Combining accounts can help to simplify your finances as a couple while maintaining your own accounts allows for a sense of financial independence. This decision will vary from couple to couple. The most important thing is to have an open conversation about this issue with your spouse and then mutually come to a decision that you both feel comfortable with.
6. Start Saving for Retirement
Within the first year of marriage is also a great time to start discussing plans for retirement. It may seem too early to have this discussion, but you need to start financially planning for the long haul now. Do you or your spouse work for a company that offers a 401k plan? Have you started a Roth IRA? Discussing your retirement plans and planning for the future begins now. The sooner you start, the better off you and your partner will be in the future.
7. Create or Update Your Will
Creating a will or updating your existing will is also a good plan for newlyweds. Should you need advice with creating a will, you can get help with your will planning from an estate planning attorney. Creating or updating your will allows you to add your spouse as a beneficiary of your assets. Once again, you will need to have an open line of communication about this issue with your spouse and come to a decision that you both feel comfortable with.
8. Remember, You’re a Team
At the end of the day, you’re a team. For your financial goals and plans to work, you must continuously work together. Be encouraging to one another, respect each other’s boundaries, and be willing to make compromises both in financial areas and in all aspects of your marriage. Remember to always keep open lines of communication with your spouse. This will prevent many unwanted and unnecessary misunderstandings in financial decisions and your overall marriage.
9. Consult with a Financial Advisor
All of the tasks above may feel a little overwhelming, and handling all of them on your own is enough to make your head spin. A financial advisor can help you make sense of all of these tasks. They can holistically examine your financial situation and help you craft a financial plan that fits.
Here in Knoxville, Tennessee, there are many great financial advisors. One great advisor is Jim LaPinska with Northwestern Mutual. Jim is dedicated to helping families and small business owners reach financial security.
Erin Morrison Photography
As a wedding photographer in the Knoxville area, I love capturing the timeless moments of the wedding day bliss. Being able to create unique wedding photos that capture the magical event, beautiful location, wedding gown, and all-around love is something I take great pride in.
I would love to work with you and create one of a kind wedding photos that you can cherish for years to come. Feel free to browse my portfolio to get a sense of my work and to determine if my style is the right fit for your wedding vision. My goal is to leave you will memories and keepsakes that you can cherish for a lifetime.
Contact me today with any questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you and being a part of your special day!