Getting married means the joining of two hearts, two minds, two bodies…and two bank accounts! HUZZAH! That means more cash, y’all!
If you play your cards right, getting hitched could be a financial windfall for you. Not only do you have a partner to bounce new ideas off of, you’ve also got the potential for a second paycheck. It’s like gaining the coolest friend in the world and getting a giant raise to boot!
But, working that budget together as a couple doesn’t just happen. It takes communication and work. If you’re not careful, you could end up blowing the financial advantage marriage gives you, finding yourself deeper in debt than you were before.
There’s all kinds of advice for newlyweds available, but few of those stories focus on one of the most important aspects of a marriage: Handling money. It takes practice to learn how to become intentional with your money. Your spending as a couple needs to be purposeful, and you should be in agreement on how you’re going to accomplish it. As a couple, you need to build your wealth together…and learn how to protect those assets in case the unthinkable happens. Here are a few money moves that every newly married couple should make.
Don’t Overspend on the Wedding
Look, any financial advice for newlyweds that’s worth its salt should start here: Don’t overspend on the wedding! I know it’s an important day, one that you’ve been dreaming about for years. But, by dropping a cool 10Gs or more on the wedding, you’re immediately putting yourself behind the financial 8 ball. Why blow all that cheese on one day when you can use it to invest in your future? Save that skrilla and put it towards a house, retirement, or paying off other debt. Don’t dig yourself a debt dungeon before you even start your married life!
Have a Money Talk
Now that you’re married, it is super important that you handle your money as a team. Personally, we think you should definitely combine your finances. I mean, you’re married right? Why treat your money like you’re still single? But, regardless of how you choose to handle your finances, the most important thing you can do is get on the same money page. Have open and honest conversations about how you plan to save and spend. Know what the ground rules are and stick to them. Money fights can put a huuuuuuge strain on your marriage. The best way to get out in front of them is through communication.
Get on a Budget
Just as important as talking about your money is actually handling it. A monthly budget is the best tool you have to control your money. It’s your financial roadmap for the month, telling your money exactly what you want it to do for you. Once you completed it, the next step is tracking your expenses. By combining these two tools, you’ll be able to easily see where all of that hard-earned cash is going.
Pay off Your Student Loans
Being in debt sucks! Debt is the single biggest obstacle to achieving financial freedom and living the life of your dreams. The faster you stop paying off other people, the more you’ll be able to save and spend on the things your really want. Get rid of all your debt as quickly as possible. Consider refinancing your student loans into a loan with a lower rate. Doing this might save you thousands of dollars and help you to pay off your loans more quickly.
Start Saving for Retirement
Retirement might seem like an eternity away, but it sneaks up on you quickly. Worse yet, you could be stuck working longer and harder if you don’t start saving for it now. The magic of compound interest helps those who start saving early. A 25-year old who starts saving just $250 a month will have over $878,000 at age 65 (assuming an 8% return). If you wait to start until 35, you’ll only have about $375,000 saved. That is a ton of money. Save early. Save often. Retire wealthy.
Get Life Insurance
Now that you’re not on your own, it’s time to start thinking about protecting your new family. Your spouse is counting on your income to make ends meet. That’s why it is important to protect them if you die. Getting a term life insurance policy can help them with more than just the funeral bill. It will also help your family to pay of any debt, replace your income, and help replace any lost income they may have due to their inability to work after your death. Term life insurance is super cheap. Non-smoking, 25 year-old males can typically find at least $250,000 in coverage for just $25 a month. That’s a pretty sweet benefit for less than the price of dinner at Applebees. Use the widget below to compare costs for you!
Change Your Beneficiaries
If you already have a life insurance policy, it’s important that you remember to change the beneficiaries on those existing plans. Since you’ve gotten married, it’s only logical that you’d want your spouse to get everything should you die. However, regardless of the fact that you’re married, the listed beneficiary is entitled to receive any insurance payout not your spouse. So, to avoid any family money fights, change your beneficiaries right away.
Create a Will
Creating a last will may not seem urgent right now, but it’s just one more way to protect your loved ones when you die. Any time you have a major life change, you should consider updating your will. In the event that you do die, it gives direction about what you want to have done with your assets. If you have kids, a will can also help determine who will receive custody. LegalZoom can help you create a last will in about 15 minutes. Simply follow the step-by-step process, submit it for review, and sign it once you get it in the mail. Even if you don’t have much, just get it documented in a will. That way, you’re not leaving any major decisions up to a judge’s discretion.
Creating a successful marriage isn’t all about love and romance. You have to learn to compromise and communicate. That’s especially true when it comes to money. Use these money tips to start your marriage off on the right financial foot. Don’t be afraid to talk about money, and make sure to protect the ones you love. Good luck!