Three Financial Decisions Newlyweds Need to Make


newlywed choicesGetting married involves dozens of big and small financial decisions, and if you successfully negotiate combining your finances, it’s easy to feel like  you’ve  done it all.

When my husband and I had been married for a year, I thought we’d done pretty well. Joint checking, joint savings, one credit card for each of us, and no debt. We were exactly where we needed to be.

Or so I thought, until I talked to a financial planner.

Turns out, savings and credit  weren’t  the only part of our finances that needed attention. There were other key decisions we needed to make that I  didn’t  want to think about until years down the road. But, as I found out, I needed to.

1. Life Insurance

No one wants to think about the worst possible scenario, but imagine if your spouse died, and you were suddenly left without his or her income. You could have medical bills, funeral arrangements, rent or mortgage payments still due, all while dealing with incredible loss and grief. Make sure you have at least minimal life insurance for each of spouse, especially if you are planning to have kids.

Many employers provide various forms of insurance, but if yours  doesn’t   you need to set a plan up for yourself. Buy it when you’re young and healthy, and not in immediate danger, and you won’t have to worry about jumping through difficult hoops further down the road.

2. Will

Most states will simply deed all your property to your spouse if you die without a will. Having one, though, makes your wishes clear and prevents your loved ones from having to make difficult decisions while they’re grieving. If you have children, it also protects their interests. A living will is also important, as it lays out how you want important medical decisions handled if you are unable to make them for yourself.

3. Retirement Accounts

If you invest $19 a month, earning 8% a year, starting when you’re 25 and not adding any more after you turn 35, you will have $169,000 by the time you are 65. If you start when you’re 35 and invest the same amount every year until you’re 65, you’ll only have $125,000. So while you may not want to have the money taken from your paycheck right now, even a small amount will make a huge difference.

If your employer offers any sort of retirement benefits, including a matching program, take advantage of it immediately.  If not, or if you’re self-employed or a student, you still need to start planning. Talk to your bank to see what kind of accounts they offer.

When you’re newly married, it’s hard to think beyond the present moment, or to consider the worst that could happen. But you and your spouse will both be better off if you think past your basic finances and plan for a secure future.

photo by comedynose

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Written by Katharine Paljug

Katharine Paljug is a freelance lifestyle copywriter. She specializes in helping businesses connect with their customers through online copy, and enjoys writing about all those things that connect us: work, play, health, and happiness. When not working, Katharine can be found dancing onstage, curled up with a good book, or musing about wholesome living at Living in Balance.

Katharine Paljug

Katharine Paljug is a freelance lifestyle copywriter. She specializes in helping businesses connect with their customers through online copy, and enjoys writing about all those things that connect us: work, play, health, and happiness. When not working, Katharine can be found dancing onstage, curled up with a good book, or musing about wholesome living at Living in Balance.

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