My wife and I got married last July in what turned out to be an amazing day. She looked beautiful, I looked stunning and we had a great time. The last thing on our mind that day was opening up a joint checking account or consolidating our auto insurance. However, as soon as we returned from the honeymoon, the focus shifted to getting things done. We moved into a new apartment and the week after that, I was heading off for five weeks of training. We had little time and a lot to do. So, for all of you newlyweds out there, I will make it easy for you and let you know what you should get done financially.
Talk to Human Resources
One of the first things we did was to add me to my wife’s benefits at work. When you have a life changing event such as marriage or having a child, you are allowed to change your benefits. This can save your a good chunk of change. I estimate that it saved us approximately $100 per month since I was on individual health insurance.
You should also change the beneficiaries on your benefits. Change the beneficiary of your life insurance and retirement plans to your new spouse.
Change Your Auto/Homeowners/Renters Insurance
Changing your auto insurance (or any insurance) and putting both of you names on one policy can save you a substantial amount of money. When my wife and I did this, I estimate that we saved about $1,000 over a year. My wife had a couple dents on her driving record and if she were to get insured by herself, it would have cost about $1,200 a year. Add that with my $1,000 policy and you are up to $2,200. When we went to purchase a policy together and they said our premium would be $1,200, I was shocked. I guess being married shows some responsibility!
Combine the Cash
People have different opinions on this, but I recommend getting a joint checking account. It forces you to keep each other accountable for the money that’s being spent.
Marriage is a team effort and your finances should be no different.
Have a Financial Meeting
Hopefully, you did this BEFORE getting married. Either way, you should sit down again and come up with a game plan. I recommend creating a financial mission statement. In it, you can set your financial goals, determine how you are going to achieve them and find ways to stay on track.
If you are bring debt into the marriage, the new living arrangements and two incomes can help free up a good amount of cash. Use that extra cash to pay off debt fast!
Update Your Wills
If you have a will or are bringing children into the marriage, make sure you update your will to document your new wishes. Obviously, as things change, so does your need for proper estate planning.
Well, there you have it. Those are the things that I came up with (and did). Can you think of other things that may need to get done or should be change with a new marriage?