After getting married, what are the most important finances to focus on? Your wedding is usually one of the best occasions of your life. The time flies by. It is also a really expensive part of your life, but does anyone talk about the months following your wedding? For some, these can be the hardest on a relationship, as you’re introducing new conversations and hurdles into your daily discussions.
Don’t let expenses get in the way of your newly married life. Enjoy the exciting moments of being newlyweds every chance you get, but know that real life will kick in quickly. Getting your finances together after marriage is an important step to starting your new lives together on a good financial foot.
Let’s talk over some important expenses including current expenses, different account types, benefits, and future finances to focus on after getting married.
Discussing Current Expenses
After marriage, it’s important to be on the same page about current expenses. These expenses are inevitable, and they include things such as a car payment, along with car insurance, maybe a few memberships, or possibly a pet that one of you already had. These expenses should be talked about as you are not separate anymore because the financial decisions of one person will most certainly affect the other.
Do you want to keep them separate? Sometimes memberships and insurances are cheaper when bundled together. For example, a family plan on a cell phone could make each phone cheaper per month versus keeping your cell phone plans separate or creating a family account for a streaming service would definitely make more sense than each person buying separate subscriptions.
Another example could be a gym membership. If you each have one at different gyms, consider combining those and attending the same gym. This will not only change the expense of the membership itself, but it could also save you money on gas as you can go to the gym together.
Not to mention, you will be able to workout with your partner, which can make the exercising experience more tolerable or motivational for some people.
Of course, it is not required or written in some book that you need to combine these expenses, but it is worth the conversation to see if it might be easier on your wallets in the long run. Being on the same page about things, especially finances, will help your relationship reach new levels of trust and confidence.
Combining your debit and credit cards is most definitely an option and some people choose not to do it. Whatever you choose to do, know the benefits that can come with combining your bank accounts.
Some couples choose to combine all of their accounts into one or two shared accounts after marriage. If this is something you’re interested in, know that every purchase you make will be seen by the other, especially if the both of you are good at keeping track of your spendings. This can get in the way of surprise gifts you may plan to buy for each other.
Another route to take would be getting a joint account while still keeping your personal accounts. With the joint account, you can pay for shared items such as rent or mortgage and your cars. Your joint accounts can be used for personal spendings and even gifts for birthdays and other special occasions.
Whichever you choose, be sure to have the conversation about each account and what you want them to look like. Start your marriage out on the same page so you can avoid as much financial confusion as possible down the road.
Speaking of being on the same page, after getting married you’ll need to start looking over the benefits that each of your jobs offer. It’s important to discuss which benefits from which company are the best for your financial circumstances.
When you get married, it changes your qualification for insurance to a family rather than a single person. This is quite a big deal. This being said, prices increase for vision, dental, and medical insurances when you switch to a family plan. If you choose to stick with a high deductible plan rather than a prepay plan, your prices per month might not increase, but your deductible will.
For example, instead if your original price was $1,000.00 for your deductible, it may increase to $5,000.00 because more people are covered. This may not always be the case depending on which plan you choose, but it is wise to look into all your options. Start by comparing the prices per month for each other. You also will want to adjust the new costs when budgeting your monthly expenses.
As you begin to focus on the changes you will need to make such as changing your last name, if you choose to, you’ll start to notice small expenses that come with that. You will be required to purchase a new identification card and passport. These aren’t free just because you got married.
Things like these aren’t huge expenses, but they are still something to make sure to expect when making these changes. After all, little expenses can add up over time and can really become strenuous if not planned for properly. Medical insurance can be one of the most important benefits to talk about as the possibility of having kids might increase soon after your wedding as well.
Along with these changes within your benefits and day to day life, you’ll eventually come around to tax season. This time is different though as you will be filing as a married couple. Make sure to cover all your bases when it comes to where you are contributing money in order to maximize your tax refund. This year Tax Day is April 18th, 2023, so you still have time to manage everything before taxes are due if you are a newlywed.
Saving For The Future
Now that your finances are organized together, this is a good time to discuss how you would like to go about saving for the future. When you hear ‘retirement savings’ you probably think of a 401k or a Roth IRA, and both are great places to start. In addition, both can be complex and difficult to understand.
When you begin a new job, make sure you know what percentage your company will match when it comes to putting money into a retirement plan. If your company is willing to match 3%, for example, it would be wise to contribute 3% yourself to maximize your savings.
Beyond getting your retirement savings set up, it’s important to look into how to set up a will to make a plan for your shared assets. This portion of your future-proofing tends to be something we don’t want to think about, but it is important in order to ensure your assets stay in your family. Sometimes death is sudden and unexpected, so it’s better to be prepared and make the process a little more organized for your loved ones.
A more exciting savings account to start to plan for is a college savings account. Paying for your child’s education is not cheap, so if you plan to have kids, this could be something you look into. Compound interest is always great to accumulate when saving for your child’s future education. Plus, can you imagine what college will cost in 20 plus years? – so it is better to save now instead of having to pay a lot more later.
After having these important conversations, enjoy the newness that comes after getting married. Keeping your finances in check can allow for you to go out for date nights as well as treat yourselves to vacations. It’s still important to make time for date night, small outings, and many other spontaneous things after getting married.
Continuing Strategies: Finances to Focus on After Marriage
As you continue your lives together new problems and expenses come and go; preparing for those moments will continue to benefit you again and again. Maybe you decided to put your honeymoon off and you’ll need to focus on putting some money into a savings account strictly for your honeymoon.
The same will continue throughout your life for other planned travels. If you are a couple that finds yourself traveling and having vacations outside of your town or state more often, this could be a great thing to start.
On the not so enjoyable side of life, we all have hiccups along the way. At least once a year your car will be required to be inspected. Whether it was a repetitive expense such as changing your oil or an unplanned issue like your tire blowing, it will still cost you. Some people make an extra savings account and call it their emergency fund for situations like this one. As the old adage goes, “you should always save for a rainy day”.
One day you might plan to start a family together, so having your expenses in order will make this process so much easier. Worry about your finances now so you can feel as though you are in a comfortable position to enjoy the little things. There is a fine line between having difficult conversations and enjoying married life and money can affect the type of relationship you have. Don’t spend your first years together worrying about if you have enough money.
Prioritizing finances to focus on now will help you build a brighter future for your family.