Personal Finances

Financial Steps for Newlyweds to Take

Once your honeymoon is over, you can resume facing reality. Finish the financial planning steps that you started before you got married. Hopefully you asked yourselves several important questions, clarified your wishes and goals, and made concrete plans for your money.

Review your insurance coverage

Your needs may be different in marriage. Make sure that your insurance coverage is adequate. You may also need to change beneficiaries on some policies.

Look into joint accounts

Some couples like to put all their money into joint accounts for ease of use. Others claim that having separate accounts keeps the peace. Still others use a hybrid approach—one or more joint accounts for specific purposes such as household expenses, while keeping separate accounts for their personal use.

Hold regular financial meetings

Discuss your finances regularly, such as monthly or quarterly. Keep a running list of financial issues, challenges, and sticking points. Make a detailed plan to achieve your financial goals. Include target dates, methods of financing them, tracking, and plans for troubleshooting. One additional benefit of meeting regularly is that it could prepare you for problems that may arise in the future. Review this periodically. Set yourselves a nice reward for afterward so that you condition yourselves to look forward to these meetings.

If all of this seems daunting, don’t be discouraged. Consider seeing a professional financial advisor to guide you toward your goals. He or she can help you select investments that are suitable for your goals. If worst comes to worst, consider seeing a relationship counselor who is well versed in marital financial issues.

Determine who will pay the bills

Often, one person likes to be in charge of the finances and does a good job of it while the other loathes it. That’s fine, but in the event that the bill-payer becomes incapacitated, the other should know how to step in. Keep a written plan of how bills are paid, how often, to whom, and where records are stored. Financial software can assist with this.

Create a budget

Most people hate budgets, thinking they can get by without them. While many can get by without them, people also leak money here and there without being aware of it, and that adds up. A budget is especially important in the beginning of your marriage because there may be a lot of unknowns that won’t otherwise get noticed—until a big fight erupts. If you have some big purchases coming up, a budget will help you set up a savings plan to pay for them. Try budgeting for a while, at least until you get into the habit of monitoring your cash flow.

Discuss your finances regularly.
A budget is important in the beginning because there may be a lot of unknowns that won’t otherwise get noticed.
Consider financial software.

Consider financial software

Many couples use one of the financial software products available. One of the many benefits of this software is that it can provide snapshots and forecasts of your financial state, which are useful for your financial planning. Do some research to get a sense of what each program offers.