There’s so much that goes into planning a wedding: finding a location, buying outfits, assembling your wedding party, choosing the food and drinks. But the planning doesn’t stop there! Did you know that there is some planning you need to do after you tie the knot?
Let’s look at four important things to consider after you get married to ensure your first months of newlywed life are as easy as possible.
1. Update Your Last Name if Needed
While some people choose to keep their maiden names, many wives take their husband’s last name, some husbands take their wife’s last name, and others both take a new name (be it a hyphenated combination of the two names or a new name altogether). If you decide to change your last name, you’ll have to update it on dozens of documents, from your Social Security card and driver’s license to bank accounts and credit cards.
Your first stop should be the Social Security Office, as many other institutions will require an updated card to change any other documents or accounts. Once you have your updated Social Security card, head over to the DMV to revise your driver’s license.
Here are some other places you’ll need to notify regarding your new name:
- Your employer (for payroll purposes)
- Post office
- Utilities, phone, Internet, and cable companies (or anywhere you have ongoing bills)
- Credit card companies
- Banking institutions
- Investment account providers
- Mortgage company
- Insurance companies
- Doctors’ offices
- Voter registration office
- Your attorney (to update your will/living trust)
- Passport office
2. Update Your Beneficiaries
Now that you’re married, update your spouse as your primary beneficiary. You will also want to name a contingent beneficiary in the event that your spouse passes away before you do.
Your previous primary beneficiary, such as your parents, may become your contingent beneficiaries, but you will need to fill out the paperwork to properly designate them as such. Review all documents that require a beneficiary, including your will, insurance policies, and retirement and investment accounts.
You may think this is something that can be taken care of later, but don’t delay too long. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our other daily duties that we forget to update our beneficiaries altogether.
Too often, I’ve seen people neglect their beneficiaries and not even realize who they have listed. This step helps take care of your loved ones in the event of a tragedy.
3. Determine How You’ll Manage Your Finances
Like last names, couples have several options for handling their finances. Hopefully you discussed your finances before you got married, but now that the wedding is over, it’s time to finalize your decisions and take action.
Many married couples choose to merge their assets. This can make it easier to manage your finances and be on the same page; however, you may decide to go a different route. For example, you may choose to open a joint bank account to manage shared bills but continue contributing to the individual accounts you had prior to marriage. If so, you’ll want to decide who takes ownership of which bills and how the accounts interact with one another.
It’s also critical to create a budget together and agree on how you will spend and save your shared assets. Perhaps one of you will contribute to a 401(k) while the other contributes to a Roth 401(k) account. You may choose to ask each other before making big purchases or allow each other a monthly “allowance” to spend as you wish.
Every couple’s financial situation will be different, but the important thing is that you have clear, honest communication with your spouse regarding finances. According to Northwestern Mutual, 1 in 5 Americans say they have financial disagreements with their significant other at least monthly. Open communication about managing your household finances can help limit this marital stress.
4. Consult With a Financial Advisor
Marriage brings a lot of change to your life, especially in the area of finances. We all have strong emotions and preconceived notions about money—whether we know it or not.
Because of this, you may want to seek guidance from a financial advisor who can serve as an objective partner. An advisor can help you stay focused on the right goals, articulate your financial desires and needs, and create a strategy that incorporates both of your values and objectives. An advisor can also walk you through how much you’ll need for retirement, what it will take to purchase a home, and more. Additionally, an advisor can help you identify new opportunities and offer a fresh perspective. Consider working with a fee-based fiduciary so you can be confident your advisor is always acting in your best interests.
As much as you may be enjoying the bliss of the honeymoon phase, don’t neglect these four steps that will help you start your marriage off on the right foot. At Favor Wealth, we’re here for you as you navigate this exciting life change. If you have questions about your new financial situation, contact us at 626-529-0445 or email Ricky directly at email@example.com.
Ricky Biel is founder, wealth manager and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ professional at Favor Wealth, an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. Ricky Biel founded Favor Wealth with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Ricky and his team of caring, smart professionals want their clients to feel like they’ve done them a favor, making it easier than ever to accomplish their financial goals by blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies. He is on a mission to help his family of clients feel both a sense of relief and excitement about their future. Favor Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the Favor Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at 626-529-0445 or email Ricky directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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