Entering into marriage is a huge life event that inspires not only the bride and groom, but all those involved. Families and friends come together and great memories are born. There is so much involved and it can be quite the whirlwind.
When I got engaged, the wedding planning began about two hours after the proposal. The whirlwind was on. I never fully appreciated how much was involved. There was decision after decision like the venue, DJs, photographers, and flowers. The list goes on and on but there is also the financial aspect to consider.
Rachelle Cain-Wiggins, owner of Cain Event Planning explains how excitement can lead to poor decisions. “Often times, I see brides and grooms buying wedding items and making commitments before they have clearly identified their budget and wedding day vision.” While it can be tempting to splurge, Rachelle recommends setting a budget because “doing so will help save a lot of time, money, and frustration down the road.” Check out one of Rachelle’s recent posts The Biggest Waste Of Money On Your Wedding Day for more wedding planning insight.
While getting married can seem a lot like a fairy tale and should be enjoyed to the fullest, it’s also a lot like a business merger. According to a March 2013 article in The Atlantic, Americans are getting married much later. “The average age of first marriage in the United States is 27 for women and 29 for men, up from 23 for women and 26 for men in 1990 and 20 and 22 in 1960.”
By this age, both bride and groom have established careers, finances, and credit (for better or worse). Going from single to married is a lot like being self employed and merging with another business owner. It is not without challenges. Here are some suggestions when your businesses merge. I mean, get married.
Figure out what your joint expenses are. These are the things you share or both use. Set up a joint bank account and pay the joint bills from there. Keep your own checking accounts to pay for things that are for your benefit only. This will also come in handy when it comes time to buy presents for each other.
Be sure to add each other as beneficiaries to 401(k) and IRAs and any other retirement account. Take it a step further and designate contingent beneficiaries in case an accident happened that involves you both.
If credit scores aren’t what they should be, start taking steps now to improve your numbers. Simple changes now can improve your credit faster than you think.
Get it sooner rather than later. Waiting means you’re another year older and thus more expensive to insure. Or worse, you delay only to find you no longer qualify for coverage due to recent changes in your health.
Enjoy every minute on your marriage adventure, but don’t forget the financials. You’re not just getting married, you’re merging a business.
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