Getting married is one of the most exciting milestones that can happen in a person’s life. You’re choosing to spend the rest of your life with the person you love and you may need a financial advisor to help you map out your new journey together.
And we don’t need to tell you that the moving pieces that go into making a wedding happen can be more overwhelming than anyone can understand. It’s easy to get caught up in the details. But, truthfully, your focus shouldn’t be on the registry and cake-tastings — you’ve got something much more important to discuss and it isn’t necessary “fun.”
It’s no secret that the number one thing that couples argue about is money. But frankly, you can’t really enter a long-term union with someone without having a series of candid conversations about your finances. You wouldn’t start a business with someone before having similar discussions, would you? But we get it. It’s tough to discuss your finances and even more tough to be honest about where you stand and what’s realistic. But you’ve going to need to have a few honest conversations about money before you tie the knot.
Begin by establishing your net worth and the net worth of your partner. Then put together a budget that shows how much you earn and how much you spend, together. Use this information to establish a realistic plan for saving and investing toward your goals. Once you have established mutually agreed upon financial goals, the next step is sticking to the plan.
From student loans to credit cards, most of us have debts we’ve taken on throughout our lives. But if you’re getting married, this could mean your spouse will share the responsibility of your debt. It’s unfortunate if one spouse has no loans to pay off and the other has abundance because the debt-free part usually has to shoulder some of that burden. But this is just one of those topics with which you both have to be upfront and develop a plan for paying off the balance.
It’s sad but true: Poor credit may indicate that one person has money management issues. Even worse, failure to improve a poor credit score can delay attaining financial goals such as buying a home. But part of moving forward together is figuring out solutions and tackling them as a team. So discuss financial mistakes and work together towards changing bad money habits, like making on-time payments.
Make retirement planning for you and your spouse a central priority for your future. Knowing how much retirement income you will need to maintain your current lifestyle through retirement is the key to establishing a successful plan for retirement savings. Save more now and lighten the burden later.
And ever if you need a third party to consult with on your finances — contact your CPA. A trusted financial advisor and tax professional can help you make the most of tax saving strategies. More importantly, your CPA can become the authority on your family finances — keeping a black and white record of hard data. Think of him/her as an unbiased referee who can keep you grounded and realistic.