A Guide to Marital Money Bliss

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An average wedding costs from $25,000 to $35,000 with the honeymoon adding about $5,000 to the overall total. One aspect many women overlook during the whirlwind that surrounds planning the wedding is that after, you’re going to be financially linked to your significant other for a lifetime.

Typical wedding vows include the phrase “for better or for worse.” Your marriage could be successful with both partners working and contributing towards goals you’ve created together if you end up in the “better” scenario. For worse is when your marriage ends due to the death of your spouse, a separation, or a divorce. Enter into your union of marriage with a full view of how your financial future is going to play out. It’s unfortunate that many times, a woman knows her husband’s zodiac sign or a favorite movie, but has no idea what his credit score looks like.

Your potential spouse’s credit score can tell you more than you thought. It speaks volumes about their financial habits and how they’re likely to handle money in the future. Sit down and discuss your financial goals together to ensure that you’re on the same page about the future. Your spouse might have their sights set on a new truck or sports car, while you might be thinking about saving for a down payment on a home.

Discuss the details of how you anticipate your financial future to go, even if you expect the conversation to sound too formal. Keep the credit that you have in your name because it’s connected to your social security number, not your last name, and follows you throughout your life. It’s best to avoid getting into debt, but joint debt can be even worse if things don’t work out in the marriage. Get loans in your name and encourage your partner to use theirs, unless you need to qualify for a large amount such as a mortgage to buy a home.

Alyssa Rower, a matrimonial lawyer who works out of NYC, stresses that it’s important to consider a prenuptial agreement regardless of whether it’s your first or third marriage and it doesn’t matter how old you are. Keep assets that you bring to the marriage such as an inheritance or business separate from marital assets. The world is an uncertain place, and it’s best to protect yourself in case things don’t work out.

Verify that you’re listed on your spouse’s insurance policies and retirement accounts as the beneficiary, especially if your spouse has been married before and might have their ex-wife listed. Spread out your assets by contributing to retirement accounts together, with one utilizing pre-tax contributions and the other depositing after-tax funds into a Roth IRA. You’ll establish a wide variety of assets to use during retirement.

It’s typical for one spouse to have more control over the day-to-day finances but check in with each other frequently to stay on top of things including investments. Work with your spouse to create a financial plan that leads to a pleasant retirement with each other.