Getting married may mean not only having a partner in life but having a partner on the journey toward your financial goals. But because financial compatibility may be a key to a lasting marriage, it's important to have some deep (and sometimes tough) conversations after marriage to ensure that you and your new spouse are on the same page. Below, we discuss some tips and tricks to managing your finances after marriage.
Make a Joint Budget
Being married doesn't mean you have to share finances. Many couples find it beneficial to have separate accounts and simply contribute a set amount to joint expenses. However, merging households and finances may mean sitting down to make a joint budget to ensure that your expenses are adequately covered, and you have a savings plan.
This process should also include an evaluation of where each of you stands financially. In many states, especially those that have community property laws, one spouse may be held responsible for the other spouse's debts. It's important to know what debts your spouse holds when evaluating where your funds should be directed.
Review Your Insurance Needs
When you're single, you may not feel as though you need any insurance beyond what's required by law—health insurance, homeowner's insurance, and auto insurance. But once you're married, and especially when you have children, it's worth investigating your life and disability insurance options to help potentially provide for your loved ones if you're no longer able to work.
Term or whole life insurance may provide a payout in the event of your untimely death, helping to ensure that your surviving loved ones don't have to deal with financial pressures when they're grieving your absence. Meanwhile, short-term and long-term disability insurance may provide you with a percentage of your pre-disability pay until you either recover enough to return to work or qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. These options may protect one of your most valuable assets: your future earning ability.
Discuss Your Goals
Even after you've evaluated your insurance choices and created a household budget, you may find that you and your spouse aren't quite on the same page when it comes to your financial goals. One of you may have your heart set on early retirement, while the other might want to upgrade to a larger house in anticipation of starting a family. By discussing these goals and determining which are most important to each of you, you may be able to compromise so that you both wind up with much of what you want.