Newlywed Financial Checklist

 

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other,

but in looking outward together in the same direction.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

It used to be a dirty little secret, but not any longer. Almost everyone now knows that financial problems are the #1 cause of divorce in the United States. As a newlywed, you don’t even want to think about divorce. You just said “I Do” with every intention of staying married to that person for life.

Nobody can guaranty that your marriage will last, but a few simple steps can go a long way towards helping make forever a reality.

 

  • ADDRESS – If you haven’t already done so, decide where you will live. Having your new address will be a necessity for almost everything else you need to do.

 

  • NAME CHANGE – Anyone changing their name needs to formally notify:
        • Social Security Administration
        • Driver’s License
        • Passport
        • Employer
        • Bank Accounts
        • Lenders (Don’t forget student loans & credit cards!)
        • Utilities (Don’t forget your cell phone service provider!

 

  • FORWARD MAIL – Notify the U.S. Postal Service to forward your mail to your new address.

 

  • ADDRESS – Change your address:
          • Social Security Administration
          • Driver’s License
          • Passport
          • Employer
          • Bank Accounts
          • Lenders (Don’t forget student loans & credit cards!)
          • Utilities (Don’t forget your cell phone service provider!)
          • Family Members
          • Friends

 

  • HEALTHCARE – If you want to give your new spouse authority to speak with your healthcare providers, pick-up prescriptions, etc …, you will need to notify:
          • Physician(s)
          • Dentist
          • Optometrist
          • Pharmacy
          • Chiropractor
          • Orthodontist
          • Veterinarian

 

  • CREDIT REPORTS – You should both obtain a copy of your current Credit Report, review it for accuracy, and discover what each other’s credit history & credit rating is. A good credit history and high credit scores can help you obtain better loan rates, lower insurance premiums, and other financial benefits. A bad credit history and low credit scores will have the opposite effect.

 

  • COME CLEAN – Show your new spouse your most current pay-stub, bank statements, investment statements, and loan statements. Don’t forget oral agreements to pay-back loans from family & friends.

 

  • GOALS – Together, identify your Short Term, Mid Term, & Long Term Goals and a time horizon for each.

 

  • BUDGET – Together, create a Budget to meet your immediate needs and begin funding your Goals.

 

  • SEPARATE? – Together, decide whether you prefer to manage household finances jointly or separately; i.e. bank accounts, investment accounts, titles, deeds, loans, etc …

 

  • DUTIES – Whether household finances are managed separately or jointly, together you need to determine whom is responsible for what.
        • Rent/Mortgage
        • Loan Payments
        • Utility Charges
        • Insurance Premiums
        • Groceries
        • Other?

 

  • RECORD KEEPING – Together, decide what financial records will be kept, how financial records will be kept, and who will keep those financial records.

 

  • BENEFITS – Each of you needs to obtain a complete benefits package from your respective employers, including pricing for each benefit.

 

  • PROFESSIONALS – Together, you need to decide on your professional team:
          • Financial Advisor
          • CPA
          • Attorney
          • Insurance Agent
        • If you don’t currently have trusted professionals, ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who they work with. A referral from a family member can often get you an appointment with a professional you otherwise wouldn’t be able to see. For example, we have a minimum Household Relationship (measured in assets) every new client must meet, but …. we make exceptions for the children of existing clients. In fact, we will work for the children of existing clients for free until they are able to begin paying us, which may be many years down the road. The result is that young people with no money or assets are able to obtain planning & advice from an experienced Certified Financial Planner (CFP), whom they otherwise couldn’t hire or afford, to help them get started in their financial life.

 

  • APPOINTMENTS – Together, you need to meet with your chosen professional team. Start with your Financial Advisor, because if you don’t know who to select as a CPA, Attorney, or Insurance Agent, a talented Financial Advisor can refer you to a competent professional. Your new Financial Advisor will also be able to create a Financial Plan to help you meet your Goals, including:
          • Budgeting
          • Debt Repayment
          • Credit Repair
          • Employer Benefits Selection
          • Insurance Policy Selection
          • Asset Titling
          • Estate Planning
          • And much more …

 

  • BENEFICIARIES – You each need to review and update Beneficiary Designations per your new Financial Plan.
        • Life Insurance
        • Retirement Accounts
        • POD (Payable On Death)
        • TOD (Transfer On Death)
        • HR Department

 

  • TITLING – Together, you need to retitle assets per your new Financial Plan.
          • Automobiles
          • Boats
          • Recreational Vehicles
          • Real Estate
          • Bank Accounts
          • Investment Accounts
          • Loans
          • Insurance Policies – Your Financial Advisor will have helped you decide which policies you need, what level of coverage, and what premium payment plan (monthly, quarterly, annual).

 

  • CONSOLIDATION – Among the many items your Financial Advisor will help you with is selecting institutions with which to consolidate household business. Consolidating business with one institution will make you both more valuable customers and may help you obtain pricing discounts.
          • Bank
          • Insurance Company

 

  • BENEFITS – You each need to change your Benefits Plan at work to match what your Financial Plan recommends.

 

  • LEGAL DOCUMENTS – You were immediately vested with a substantial amount of legal rights regarding your spouse as soon as you said “I Do”. Likewise, your new spouse now has the same rights regarding you. You now need some legal documents laying out the relationship between one another and between your new spouse & your family. Your Financial Advisor will have helped you with outlining an estate plan. For mature clients, it may be an extensive and complex plan, especially if children from previous marriages are involved. For young married couples with no children, it may be a very straightforward and simple plan. No matter what the plan is, an attorney must prepare the documents.

 

  • HAPPILY EVER AFTER – Congratulations! You and your new spouse have now faced the #1 cause of divorce head-on. You’ve grabbed that bull by the horns, thrown it to the ground, and tied it up tight before it could cause any harm. Just remember to visit with your Financial Advisor every year to update her on your current situation and changes in your life or goals. She may have recommendations to help you keep the wolf at bay so you can live happily ever after.

 

It may take a few weeks to complete this checklist, especially if there is a name change involved, but it is well worth the effort. It will help you and your new spouse begin your married financial life on the right foot.

 

Sapiat Asset Management is an independent registered investment advisor, specializing in financial planning based, asset management for Gen X Individuals & Families and their Trusts & Businesses. Our Financial Advisors have assisted an untold number of newlyweds of all ages in beginning married financial life together.

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