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An overview of the 8 things to know after getting married regarding finances

By Kerri Anne Renzulli Updated: June 1, 2017 2: May 15, 2017 As unromantic as it sounds, finances play a big role in how successful—and how happy—your marriage will be.

Money is the No. On the plus side, a MONEY survey revealed that couples who trust their partner with finances felt more secure, argued less, and had more fulfilling sex lives. By your wedding day, you know many things about your spouse-to-be.

Come clean about salaries and other income, as well as your spending over the past year. Being honest about finances was tough at first for Chicago couple Erica and Wade Loewe, 35 and 38, respectively.

Erica and Wade Loewe enjoy their first dance as husband and wife eight years ago. Your upbringing colors how you handle and view money. If you often squabble about finances, try to figure out why your partner saves and spends the way he or she does, says Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, author of How to Give Financial Advice to Couples. His wife was raised in a household where money was far tighter; now that she was earning a good salary, she wanted to enjoy the best and provide their children with an experience very different from her own.

Understanding their histories helped lessen the frequency and duration of their money disagreements, she says. Bob Saumur of Champlin, Minn. He wanted a water softener.

Sue wanted new carpeting. For Ruth Bacher and her husband, Jason, both 40, setting up a joint account and keeping some money separate made more sense. When Sejal Madhubhai, 26, married Erik Hansen, 31, last year, she was earning a lot less than him. To make it more comfortable, the Orlando couple divvy up the bills so that they share four main categories of household responsibilities.

Sejal pays the rent and utilities. Erik pays more in dollars, taking care of credit card and health insurance payments. Therapist Paula Levy recalls one couple she helped who chose to divide all joint expenses fifty-fifty. The husband earned significantly less than the wife. Ease that tension by deciding on a monthly amount that each spouse can freely spend, no questions asked.

The Newlyweds' Guide to Financial Success

Just agree to consult each other on the big stuff. The magic number most couples say they can spend without informing their spouse: If the two of you have similar earnings, you might owe more tax as a married couple than you did before.

  1. The magic number most couples say they can spend without informing their spouse. Opening joint accounts, applying for joint credit, cosigning a loan, or adding your spouse as a joint account holder will make you both liable for any debt incurred during your marriage, and your credit report could get dinged if it is now associated with negative accounts, warns Skowronski.
  2. He wanted a water softener. That gap might lead these women to retire earlier than they would have otherwise.
  3. Having one person handle a lot of the money tasks is fine as long as both of you have a strong sense of your overall financial situation.

The reverse is true if your pay is very different. Rough that out using tax software. Update your W-2 withholding forms with your employers.

So make reducing debt a priority. If there are multiple debts, start with the highest-rate obligation first, to reduce the total interest you pay. Alternatively, focus on the smallest one first for motivation-building early success. Opening joint accounts, applying for joint credit, cosigning a loan, or adding your spouse as a joint account holder will make you both liable for any debt incurred during your marriage, and your credit report could get dinged if it is now associated with negative accounts, warns Skowronski.

In community-property states, married couples are liable for any debt that either spouse takes on in marriage, even if only one spouse signed the paperwork for that account or loan. Maintaining one household is typically less expensive than living separately, and paying less for housing is only one of many ways you can save. Cell phone providers and car insurers, as well as facilities like gyms, often offer better deals when you sign up jointly.

To achieve your goals, you first need to agree on what they are: Share your lists to shape a joint plan.

People who identify specific goals make faster progress toward their savings and investing targets, TD Ameritrade has found. Typically, the person with the most aptitude, interest, or time for a particular money task becomes responsible for it.

For the Two of You

Turns out, Jayson was simply overwhelmed by his 80-hour workweeks. Erin stepped in and continues to oversee the bills today, as a stay-at-home mom to four kids. Having one person handle a lot of the money tasks is fine as long as both of you have a strong sense of your overall financial situation.

Get that by going over your numbers together every month or quarter. What if you have different approaches to investing? A risk-averse investor and a risk-taker might divvy up their money to manage separately, suggests Rapid City, S.

Still, you or a financial planner should check that all the pieces fit together with your long-term needs. Without a will, state law decides. And update your beneficiaries on retirement accounts and insurance policies. If you and your spouse find money conversations extremely tough and unproductive, you may need to bring in a financial planner, accountant, or other professional to help.

For DD and Joe Kullman, 56 and 64, hiring a financial coach two years ago was a marriage saver. There were tensions between saving and spending, including about financing things for her two sons from a prior marriage. The coach helped the Kullmans create a budget and separate accounts for different goals. Or sometimes we overcorrect and change how we divvy up our marital finances, even if the system we used in the first marriage works fine in the second.

Bringing those biases into your new marriage—or shutting your new spouse out of certain areas of your finances—can backfire by creating trust issues that keep you from working as a team. How much you spend on your children vs. Be open from the start, not just about the legal support you pay or receive, but also about extra expenses, such as trips to see your children or contributions to college savings.

And be prepared for some rough spots as you negotiate different family traditions around allowance and gifts. A new and potentially more complicated family financial situation calls for updating estate documents and beneficiary forms.

One possibility is using trusts to provide income for your new spouse if he or she survives you, while ensuring that assets flow to children from a prior marriage. A lawyer might suggest a postnuptial agreement to set out how your assets would be divided in case of divorce. You can use a tool such as the T. That gap might lead these women to retire earlier than they would have otherwise. Given that women typically live five to 10 years longer than men, these wives need to prepare for what could be many years as a widow.

The closer you are to retirement, the more likely it is you already had a plan for when to start benefits.

Revisit that as a duo. It often makes sense for one person, typically the higher earner, to put off collecting until age 70 in order to maximize the potential survivor benefit for the other. Depending on your ages and whether you are both working, it might be advantageous for the other spouse to collect as early as age 62. To weigh your options, you could use a service such as MaximizeMySocialSecurity.

Medicaid kicks in once you deplete most of your assets. They are the people who may be able to afford the steep premiums but could see their finances undone by the costs of a home health aide or assisted living.

Some policies let spouses share their coverage for greater flexibility.

  • But keep in mind, the older you buy, the higher the premium, which is why the prime age to buy is 55 to 65, Kahler says;
  • How much you spend on your children vs;
  • Be open from the start, not just about the legal support you pay or receive, but also about extra expenses, such as trips to see your children or contributions to college savings.

But keep in mind, the older you buy, the higher the premium, which is why the prime age to buy is 55 to 65, Kahler says.