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Master your wedding budget and beyond for a unified fiscal partnership.
In Part 1 of this series, we coveredfinancial basics to consider before tying the knot. Read on for Part 2, where we provide tips on money matters for the actual event and life together afterwards.
The wedding, honeymoon, engagement, rehearsal dinner and so on
How much you spend getting married is entirely up to you. You will have endless choices, and, in the end, the guest list will probably be the hardest, so try to keep it in perspective.
Determine which events you’re going to have. Do you want an engagement party? Photos? A big wedding? A high-five at city hall? Will your honeymoon be a decadent European tour or a relaxing staycation? Does it have to be right away? Plot out your events, and decide the importance of each.
Remember how we said to have the money talk first? That’s because you shouldn’t enter a wedding budget conversation without the context of its financial impact on your collective net worth and goals. Be sure to discuss whether parents or others plan to chip in. While it’s easy to focus on the excitement of a wedding, remember that those expenses could also go toward long-term investments, such as a down payment on a home or getting a new car.
The little things
Marriage licenses, wedding party gifts, postage, an emergency haircut for your brother-in-law-to-be … no one has the definitive list of every cost that may crop up. Budget about 10 percent for the unexpected. Whatever your budget is, set aside about 10 percent for things you might forget and day-of surprises. If you don’t spend it, you have given yourself the gift of a little money left over. Happy wedding to you.
Your actual, wonderful marriage
Your wedding is just the beginning. Before you get married, there are things you can do to prepare for healthy finances in your marriage for years to come.
Open the dialogue.If the money talk above doesn’t go well, try, try again. It’s normal for people to be emotional about money. Being open about your finances requires trust and maybe some bravery, too.
Talk about goals and milestones. What you are saving for is just as important as what’s in your savings account. What do you want to save for as a couple? Are you planning for children? An annual vacation? Get on the same page with your spouse to avoid future miscommunications.
Discuss combining accounts. It’s a little like asking someone to date you all over again, but you and your spouse-to-be should talk about whether you want joint bank accounts or to manage your money separately. Combining accounts is a decision, not a “should.”
Simple estate planning. Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Once your marriage license has been inked and filed with the state, it is important to take time to review your beneficiaries tied to all of your accounts including banking, investments, insurance, etc. You may wish to indicate your spouse as the primary beneficiary on your accounts to ensure assets are transferred according to your wishes, and as planned, in the event of untimely death. Preparing a simple will may also be wise to ensure your other intentions are articulated.
Talk taxes. Thanks to the Supreme Court decision in 2015, which made same- sex marriage the law of the land, you’re going to have a choice between “married filing separately” or “married filing jointly”, and there are a lot of factors that will affect which is the most cost-efficient option for you. If your income isn’t changing dramatically, consider filling out mock 1040 tax return forms to see which scenario is the best.
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