Somehow sometime during this long engagement of ours I was signed up to receive the “Groom’s News” in my email inbox a few times a week. Along with cheerfully telling my how many days until the upcoming wedding and trying to sell me often unneeded high end trinkets and vacations, it points to articles that may be useful to newlyweds. In today’s issue was this gem: Ten Financial Considerations For Newlyweds. Let’s discuss, shall we?
1. From the beginning, save 15 – 20% of your income. By combining households, you should reduce your expenses a lot which should allow you to save. You should save to build your cash reserves, in your 401k plans and in a mutual fund.
This is a great tip to start off with. We’re currently saving about 10% of our gross income, and after the wedding we’re likely to increase that. It will be a balancing act with paying off student loans, though.
2. Rather than simply keeping two checkbooks like before you were married, pool your money into one checkbook and one savings account or money market.
3. Change all of the beneficiaries on life insurance plans, retirement and other plans at work, and IRAs to your new spouse.
A nice reminder. We don’t have life insurance, but we do have retirement accounts and bank accounts we’ll have to check.
4. Decide how debts accumulated by each individual prior to the marriage (i.e. student loans) will be handled.
Since we’ve been living together and have had our finances combined for a while now, we’ve been living the “everything is ours” way of things – even debt – for a while now.
5. Work together on budgeting and tracking expenditures.
6. Discuss your approaches to handling money — is one person a spender and one a saver? Create some ground rules on handling any differences.
Haha, it’s more like “He’s a spender, she’s a spender.” I mean, uh, we love to save money.
7. If both incomes are needed to pay expenses, be sure to have adequate life insurance.
We’re definitely going to have to look at adequate life insurance after we get hitched.
8. Be sure to let each other know where important documents are kept.
More importantly, we need to get a safety deposit box to keep all that stuff. That’s been on our to-do list for the past 2 years.
9. Consolidate your credit cards to avoid having double the number of credit cards needed.
Not sure if I agree with this one. We believe that we both should have individual credit. We’ve even opened some duplicate credit cards in order to take advantage of rewards.
10. Make a list of upcoming purchases together and prioritize them. You should decide jointly how to spend your money now.
Of course, communication is key. Her probably wouldn’t like it if I just came home with a 52″ plasma screen TV, and I don’t quite know how I’d react if she brought home a couple pairs of Manolo Blahniks.
This list actually wasn’t that bad. It will serve as a good reminder of things to-do after we’re married.