By Stacy Bush | Bush Wealth Management
What Is It?
Marriage is an important step in anyone’s life and brings many challenges with it. One of those challenges is the management of your finances as a couple. The money decisions that you make now as a couple can have a lasting impact on your financial future together. Careful planning of your finances can ensure that together, you achieve financial success.
Budgeting Your Money
When you were single, you managed your finances in a way that was comfortable for you and that you understood–no one had to approve or disapprove of your financial decisions. Now that you are married, however, both you and your spouse have to agree on a system for budgeting your money and paying your bills.
Discuss Financial Situations
You and your spouse must discuss your respective financial situations and expectations, and take stock of your individual assets (what you own) and liabilities (what you owe). Revealing your financial situation is an important step when budgeting as a couple. If either of you has a financial problem, it is best to identify it now and begin solving it together. This is the time to address questions such as what do each of you earn, and what additional sources of income do you have? What do you own? Will both of you work now that you are married? Who will hold title to property acquired before and after the wedding? In addition, be sure to disclose all of your financial commitments. If you pay child support, let your partner know the amounts. If you have to repay student loans, discuss that as well.
Discuss Financial Goals
After you discuss your financial situations, you should discuss your financial goals. You can start by each making a list of your short- and long-term financial goals. Short-term goals are those that can take anywhere from three to five years (e.g., saving for a down payment on a home or a new car). Long-term goals are those that take more than five years to achieve (e.g., saving for a child’s college education or retirement). When you have each determined your individual financial goals, you should review your goals together to achieve common objectives. You can then focus your energy on those common objectives and strive to attain those goals (short- and long-term) together.
Decide on The Type Of Bank Account(S) You Will Keep
Decide whether you and your spouse will have separate bank accounts or a joint account. Advantages to consolidating your checking funds into one account include easier record-keeping, reduced maintenance fees, less paperwork when you apply for a loan, and simplified money management. If you do choose to keep separate accounts, consider opening a joint checking account for household expenses.
When sharing a checking account, be sure to keep track of how much money is in the account at all times since both of you will be writing checks that draw from the same account.
Lookout for Money Issues That Concern Married Couples: Part II next week.
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Bush Wealth Management and LPL Financial are separate entities.