So, you’ve finally found the one! The planning and anticipation leading up to your wedding is an exciting time in your life. And, the big day is something you’ve spent lots of time and money on. While there’s a lot of exciting changes and celebratory moments going on when you get married, there are also some important tasks that many people forget to consider.
Once the wedding is over, you’ll want to take the necessary steps to set a strong financial foundation for your future as a couple and, maybe some day, as a family. Here are some top finance tips you need to consider once you get married and how to implement them easily and effectively
Once married, many couples choose to have one person take the other spouse’s last name. If one spouse has decided to do a name change, it’s important to change your name on all legal documents as soon as possible. And, your driver’s license isn’t the only place you need to worry about in order to make your name change effective. Your passport and social security card, along with any other important accounts, will need to be changed as well. In order to complete the process of changing your name, you’ll need to have a copy of your official marriage certificate as valid proof. Be sure to order multiple copies when getting your marriage license. Social Security will update your card free of cost, but you must have your official marriage certificate and a completed name change form. The costs vary by state to change your driver’s license at DMV. And, if you update your passport within a year, that is also free. Again, be sure you have ample copies of your marriage certificate so you can get these changes made fast and effectively.
2. Financial Accounts
Once you have your updated driver’s license, Social Security card, and your official marriage certificate, you’ll need to change your name on all accounts that require legal proof of person. This means you’ll need to take time to update your bank accounts, credit card, and any financial investments you have like your mortgage or stocks.
3. Health Insurance
Getting married is considered a life event. This means that your health insurance plan might change through your employer. In most cases, it means you can add your spouse to your coverage. Before you choose, sit down and go over the health insurance coverage plans you each have. Find out which is the most cost effective and beneficial for both of you. Some couples choose to stay on individual plans because they are the better option. Whatever your choice, make any effective changes as soon as possible to get the best coverage.
4. Updating Beneficiaries
If you have any retirement plans and/or existing life insurance plans, it’s time to put them on the table. Sit down and discuss what you have coming into the marriage in terms of estate plans, retirement plans, and life insurance plans. If you haven’t set any in place, now is a great time to do so together. If you have existing plans and policies, review your beneficiaries to be sure they are consistent with your plans and list your spouse as the primary on each account. Now is always a great time to sit down with a financial advisor and go over what you have and decide if additional options would be to your benefit.
5. Change Your Tax Filing Status
Couples who are married as of December 31st, are considered married for an entire year by the IRS. This gives you the option to file your taxes jointly as a married couple. Whether you decide to file jointly or separately, you’ll still need to discuss this topic.
The key to a successful relationship is an open line of communication. This is especially true when it comes to finances. Make sure you and your spouse discuss your finances once the ceremony phase of the marriage settles down. Be as transparent as possible. Address any debt you both have, create a budget, and plan for the future with long-term savings goals. Now is the time to get your life in order and build a solid foundation that will sustain you well into your future. But, you need to start with a plan.