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Getting Married

To love, honor and merge your finances

The number one issue couples fight about is also a topic many couples avoid discussing — money.1 The sooner you get things out in the open, the better your chances are for a successful relationship.

Managing money and marriage

Take the time to gain a clear picture of your financial future together. Knowing the following can pay off down the road:

  • Salaries or self-employment income
  • Other sources of income (e.g., trusts, family support)
  • Any additional money either of you expect to receive
  • Credit scores
  • Existing debts
  • Insurance plans
  • Interest and dividends from investments

The Net Worth Statement Worksheet is a great place to start.

 

Take the quiz

Approximately how many U.S. adults who are in live-in relationships are hiding a checking, savings or credit card account from their partner?1

Yes.

In fact, millennials have the highest rate of currently hiding an account from their spouse or partner at 28% compared to older generations at 15%.

It’s 29 million.

Millennials have the highest rate of currently hiding an account from their spouse or partner at 28% compared to older generations at 15%.

CreditCards.com. April, 2019

 

Mingling mindsets and money

Marriage can be a union of two very different approaches to finances. Once you understand and respect that, you can begin to plan how you’ll manage your money together – your day-to-day budget, health coverage, retirement plans and life insurance.

 

Bank accounts: Joint? Separate? Or both?

It's common for spouses to keep separate accounts, as well as to have a joint checking account for household expenses and possibly a joint savings for major purchases. Each person deposits income into his or her individual checking and/or savings account and then contributes an agreed-upon portion into the joint accounts. This allows each spouse to share in the responsibilities and still retain some independence.

The perks of prenups

One of the most important questions to answer is whether or not you need a prenuptial agreement. Although the topic may seem awkward to bring up at this exciting time, it can provide a way to address philosophical differences and set expectations. A prenuptial agreement can help spouses:

  • Manage financial responsibilities
  • Protect the finances of the spouse with substantial wealth
  • Safeguard family-owned interests or an individually owned business
  • Limit liability from a spouse's debt obligations

 

Take the quiz

Are more millennials getting prenuptial agreements than they used to?

That’s correct.

Americans are getting married later, accumulating more assets and debt before marriage, and many millennials are children of divorce, making them predisposed to protect their interests.

That’s incorrect.

Americans are getting married later, accumulating more assets and debt before marriage, and many millennials are children of divorce, making them predisposed to protect their interests.

Credit card considerations

Before you add your names to each other's credit cards, keep in mind that you will be assuming your spouse's credit card debt and his or her credit rating will impact yours as well. You will also be liable for any charges your spouse makes on your card.

Take the quiz

How many couples typically carry debt into their relationship?

Yes.

A recent study revealed more than half of married couples carried debt into their relationship. Generationally, younger generations brought more debt than older generations.

A recent study revealed more than half of married couples carried debt into their relationship. Generationally, younger generations brought more debt than older generations.

FMR LLC. June, 2018 

Five tips for wedded bliss

Be honest. It's important when it comes to all areas of your relationship - even money.

Work as a team to achieve your plan - from keeping a monthly budget to investing for the future.

Plan regular check-ins to discuss finances, as goals and needs may change over time.

Agree on a level of risk you're both comfortable with.

Share financial responsibilities so you both have a grasp, and a stake in your financial picture.

 

What’s yours is yours and what’s theirs is theirs – except when it isn’t

The way you take title to property has legal implications, whether you're talking about real estate, bank accounts, investments or personal property. Here are some common ways to title property.

  • One common form of title is separate property, where you take title to something in your own name only.
  • You can also title accounts and other property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS), which means when one of you dies, the account or other property will pass automatically to the survivor.
  • Lastly, there's community property, which is a form of ownership in certain states, such as California, Texas and Washington, that refers to anything you acquired after marriage.

 

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