Congratulations on the wedding! Now that the festivities are over, you two get to actually enjoy building a life together. Now, it may not sound terribly romantic, but part of building your lives involves taking care of a few financial chores early on. This checklist can help make sure you finish everything important, so you can get back to enjoying being newlyweds.
Financial Hubby Jobs:
- Review your wife's entire financial to-do list -- you may need to take care of many of the same jobs.
- If you were in the military, change your listed beneficiary to your new wife. This is something that many veterans forget to do, especially in second marriages.
- Make a list of all stocks and bonds, land purchases or pensions that you own. Add this to a financial documents file that you keep in a safe place -- preferably a fireproof safe that you can both get to.
- Make a list of all debts that you owe, even small ones and personal loans. If you had some sort of accident in the future, your spouse being unaware of any of these debts could cause major headaches. Add this list to your financial documents file
- Make a list of all bank accounts and credit card accounts you own; this list, too, goes in the financial documents file.
- List all of your monthly payments, including both automatic and manual payments. You want to make sure your wife knows about them all in case for some reason you were unable to take care of them.
- Write down the salary you make now and a rough breakdown of how you spend it.
- Contact your insurance company or companies. You will need to change all of your policies -- life, health and so on -- so that they protect your spouse as well as you. In many cases, you only have a short period of time after your marriage to make these changes, so do not take too long.
- Make any necessary changes to both of your car insurance policies. Although you probably are both insured already, combining policies can often save you a significant amount of money. You should also add each other as an authorized driver of the other's car if you expect to drive each other's cars from time to time.
- Contact your bank or banks to give your wife access to your accounts. If you were in an accident or for any other reason could not access them, she would need to be able to do so to handle financial transactions. Even if you choose to each keep a separate bank account, ask your bank to help you give your wife contingent account access in the case of an emergency.
- Make any necessary adjustments to your will. If you do not have a will, make one. Create a trust along with this will to keep your assets from being locked up in court probate and not being given to your wife in case of your death. A trust skips probate completely. Be sure to list all your vehicles, and have the trust roll over to your wife. That guarantees her ownership in the case of your death.
- File joint tax returns after you get married so that in the future your spouse will be able to access past return information if necessary.
- Create a list of all doctors you visit along with all medications you take. In the case of a medical emergency, this will be vital information for your wife to have.
- Write down activities that you commonly do with your extended family on a regular basis. Some of these could become an unforeseen financial burden if you do not plan for them. If you always spend a week in the mountains each year with Grandma, or you alternate holidays with your family and take cruises together, make sure your spouse knows about it.
- Write down any financial obligations you have to a former spouse or lover. A year after marriage is not the time to tell your new wife you share a condo with your ex or a timeshare with a past girlfriend.
- Discuss where you would like to be, physically and financially, in five years, ten years and so on. This is especially important if this includes a major change like moving to a different city or career. It is not a good idea to first tell your spouse when you retire that you want to move to Maine to open a bed and breakfast. Moving is costly and asking to relocate to a different state or home unexpectedly could be a major relationship strain.
- Discuss any past financial hardships or negatives, like foreclosures or bad debts, that could impact your spouse in the future.
Financial Wifey Jobs:
- Review your husband's entire financial to-do list. Many of those items could apply to you as well.
- List all safety deposit boxes you own, as well as any previous assets from other marriages.
- Add your spouse to any military or other benefits to which you may be entitled in case you pass away suddenly.
- Talk about any loans that are in your name, as well as any loans you hold jointly with another person for which you are financially liable.
- Talk about any children you have from a previous marriage or relationship, ensuring that they are accounted for in your wills. This could help protect you both from litigation later.
- Write down any miscellaneous financial responsibilities, such as a promise to put your five nephews through college. This could be a burden later if you do not both account for it in advance.
Financial Couple Jobs:
- Begin reviewing your bills and payments together monthly. This will help you quickly spot any potentially fraudulent or erroneous charges, allowing you to contact your bank or credit card company to correct them.
- If one of you is moving into a house already owned by the other, the new spouse's name should be added as joint owner. The same applies to a rental property -- make sure you add the new spouse's name to the rental agreement to prevent any future confusion.
- Plan for the added financial burden of children, including childbirth expenses. Discuss your approximate timeframe for having kids.
True, taking care of a long list of chores may be the last thing you want to think about after your honeymoon. But, if you want your "happily" to truly last "ever after" a little financial housekeeping early on can be a big help.