Five Must-Have Money Conversations for Newlyweds
The vows have been said, rings have been exchanged and the stress of planning a wedding is over. Now that you’ve said “I do,” you can kick back and relax right? Not quite. After the honeymoon is over, there’s one more important step that should be considered as part of the wedding process – talking about money as a married couple.
Don’t let money hurt your marriage
Just as discussing assets and liabilities during your engagement was critical, so is having a conversation about finances now that you’re married. Sit down with your spouse and use these topics as a guide to help create the foundations of a happy and responsible marriage.
Who will manage our budget?
Decide who will be in charge of managing your joint budget each month, including who will be responsible for paying which bills. This can be done together weekly or monthly, or you can put one person in charge. Better yet, automate your payments from a designated account to make it as worry-free as possible. However you pay your bills, it’s best to have a money conversation right away before credit card or student loan payments are missed or you outspend your budget.
Are we ready to see a financial professional?
Now that you are married, a great first step to establishing a healthy financial future is to have a trusted third party analyze your situation. By meeting with a professional, you can get an accurate assessment of your finances while avoiding unnecessary arguments or judgments from your spouse. There are many benefits to meeting with a financial representative, starting your marriage with a strong financial plan is just one of them.
Are we ready to invest?
Whether you are ready to invest in the market now, or you’re a couple years away, investing is a form of long-term saving that will benefit you and your spouse. Investments are practical for buying a home, retirement and other big moments down the road. Many informational websites are available to help determine which investment works best for your particular situation.
How will we establish our will?
This is probably the hardest conversation to have, but creating a will is necessary after getting married. How will you delegate important items between you and your spouse, as well as both of your families? Who are your beneficiaries? It’s crucial that you have an open conversation about how you plan to split up your assets should something happen to you.
How much life insurance do we need?
Like many young individuals, you might think you don’t need life insurance. But now that you and your spouse have become a family, you most certainly do. The first step to determining how much life insurance you need is to determine your monthly budget. This helps you figure out how much yearly income protection you will need. Take some time to settle into your new routine with your spouse, come up with a budget estimate and then speak to a professional about what kind of life insurance is right for you.
To help ensure you’re making the right money decisions for you and your spouse, it’s recommended that couples re-evaluate their finances quarterly. After discussing these topics, check in a few months later to see if your financial plan still works for you.
Emily Holbrook is the director of the Young Personal Market for Northwestern Mutual. At Northwestern Mutual since 2008, she developed a passion for helping those just starting out on their financial paths. As an avid traveler, she knows what it’s like to work toward achieving your dreams, like taking surf lessons in Portugal. She received her bachelor’s degree and MBA from Marquette University and currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband and their two young daughters.