Tying the knot

Get the latest information and tips on financial planning.

Plan for a Marriage - Not Just a Wedding

By Colin Wheeler

It's nearly June, and that means lots of people are popping the question and planning upcoming weddings - yours truly included. My fiancee, Shannon, and I are in the early stages of planning our own wedding. It's easy to get caught up in the details of the big day and not think beyond walking down the aisle and dancing into the night.

But once the guests have gone home, it's all about the marriage and building a life together - including a financial life. If you haven't already done so, it's time to think about combining incomes and merging assets.

One pitfall we often see newlyweds fall into is not increasing savings despite having combined those incomes. Ask yourselves, "What can we accomplish together that we couldn't as individuals?" It's important to set shared goals you can work toward as a team.

Although many engaged couples only want to think about spending money on the perfect wedding rather than saving it for the future (and wedding planning often involves many "yes, dear" conversations), this is a great time to start talking about money. Just as many couples often sit down with a pastor or pre-marital counselor to help with communication about personal relationships, a financial planner can help ease couples into those money conversations that can be difficult to bring up.

You'll want to have frank conversations about financial goals, dreams, and what kind of life you want to live together. Where will you live? How many children do you want? What are your financial priorities, both as individuals and as a couple? How much debt does each spouse carry?

Traditionally, one spouse has handled the money while the other took a primarily hands-off approach. However, especially among younger couples, we are seeing a shift toward both partners sharing the family financial responsibilities. We think this is a great trend, as it empowers each partner to know what's happening with the money, and allows the couple to better work together toward common goals. Handling money jointly also helps keep communication lines open and honest - and that can affect other areas of the marriage too. And remember, it's never too late to get more involved in the family finances, even if you or your spouse has taken the more hands off approach.

Are you tying the knot soon, or recently married? Check out our Tying the Knot package at FeeForPlan.com, and call us today to let us know what questions and your beloved have about married life and money.

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