Congratulations! You’ve found the love of your life. Now find out how you can make your finances merge better than his favorite chair and your grandmother’s antiques . . . or her collection of baskets and your baseball memorabilia. You get the idea! Read on to find out how you can make the money merge an easy one and help get you started saving for your life together.
Before the Big Day
After the Big Day
The Next Big Decisions
|Have the Money Talk||Changing Your Name||Thinking About Kids? Visit our Baby Page|
|Achieve Financial Harmony||Update or Create Your Wills||Buying a Home? Click here for More Information|
|Say I don’t to Wedding Debt|
Have the Money Talk
Sit down and set financial goals–do you want to save for a new house? Have five kids? Decide if you’re going to pool your assets or maintain separate share draft/checking or savings accounts. The success or failure of a marriage can depend on how well a couple handles money. A couple’s first experience handling money may be the decision to open a joint share draft/checking account, maintain separate accounts, – or a combination of the two – a joint and individual accounts.
Don’t make the decision lightly and, according to financial planners, don’t make it quickly, either. It’s better to ease into financial blending. A lot of people get married and the next day put everything into a joint account. Slow down, expert’s advice, and maintain separate accounts for a while or try a joint account while keeping separate accounts as well.
Joint accounts provide a sense of teamwork, but they can allow one person to be in charge while the other remains “in the dark.” This can create tension and lack of communication in a marriage.
Separate accounts help maintain each partner’s identity and provide the financial knowledge necessary in case of a divorce or the death of a spouse. As your needs and goals change, or if there’s constant tension over money, consider combining or separating your accounts. Our Member Service Representatives would be happy to provide guidance to you in this process.
During the money talk, exchange credit reports and take a financial inventory. Who owes what? How many credit cards are there between you? Are there problems or red flags on either credit report? If your goals include buying a home, car, or having children, focus on cleaning up any credit problem and curtailing future debt.
“You don’t want to have a situation whereby you’ve both been renting and you want to buy a house or car and then you get surprised,” says Janet Fox, president of ACH Investment Group in Raleigh, N.C.
It may be advantageous for the partner with better credit to list his or her name first on the application to help secure the loan or a better rate, adds Fox. To maintain your individual credit history, keep at least one credit card or loan in your own name.
Changing Your Name
Make name change notifications. Make a list of agencies to notify if you’re changing your name, including credit card issuers, the Social Security Administration, the motor vehicle department, and the U.S. Passport Office. The IRS requires that the name on your accounts matches the name on your Social Security Card. After you’ve received your new Social Security Card be sure to notify us in writing and include a copy of your new card.
Create or update your wills and powers of attorney. As life becomes more complicated – as your children are born, as you buy a house or other real estate, as your assets grow – a will can make life a lot simpler for those who survive you.
Check Your Insurance
Review your auto, health, property, disability, personal liability, and life insurance coverage. Update beneficiaries on your policies, your IRAs (individual retirement accounts), and other investments.