Financial Checklist for Newlyweds

This article is part of a multi-part blog series. Links to other posts are at the bottom of the article.
 
No matter how deeply you believe that things won’t change in marriage, once you are officially sharing a life with someone, things inevitably do change. Your entire outlook on life changes. Everything you do has an impact—and not just for you.
 
Your personal finances are no different. You have likely developed your own pattern for spending and saving without being accountable to anyone else. Once you get married, though, the focus shifts toward making financial decisions together!
 
Mountain America Credit Union has put together some helpful to-do lists to organize some of the financial decisions that need to be made. We’ve broken it down into past, present and future to-do’s.
 
Past—If one of you is changing your name, update all of your personal documents.
Present—Get your financial plans in place and set short- and long-term goals.
Future—Prepare now for your life down the road.
 
Pssssstttt—You don’t have to wait until you’re actually married to make some of these decisions. Feel free to discuss your financial strategies and habits pre-wedding!

Past: Personal documentation updates

First, you’ll need to legally change your name. That involves taking a trip to the County Clerk’s office or the Social Security office in the county where you were married. Fill out some paperwork and stand in a line—easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy! Then, update the following:
  • Driver’s license or ID card
  • Passport
  • Social security card
  • Credit and/or debit card
  • Financial accounts
  • Mortgages and/or other loans
  • Utility companies
  • Titles to house(s) and vehicle(s)
  • HR department at your place of employment
             - Paycheck
             - Health insurance
             - 401(k)
             - Business cards
             - Email signature
             - ID card
  • Prescriptions
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • Services, subscriptions or clubs
  • Voter registration
  • Health insurance card          

Present: Combine your financial lives

  • Set a regular appointment to discuss finances with your new spouse. This time will allow you both to get comfortable talking about money which, according to most research, leads to fewer arguments down the road. It can be weekly, monthly or whatever works for you.
  • Decide if you are going to combine your finances or keep them separate. If you’re unsure of which option is best, take each method on a test run for three or four months and then make a decision.
  • Discuss short- and long-term goals and plan out the steps or milestones to get there.
  • Start a monthly budget.
  • Strategize how to pay off your combined debt.
  • Track your combined net worth.
  • Order your credit reports and discuss your scores and credit history.
  • Share financial responsibility. Assign tasks like paying the monthly bills, handling the investments, filing paperwork, etc. If you’re both responsible, you’re both invested (no pun intended!) and one person won’t have to shoulder the full weight of something so important.
  • Discuss your financial personality. Are you a spender, a saver, a risk-taker or a security seeker?
  • Adjust the withholding from your paychecks.
  • Start a filing system for all of your financial documents.
  • Secure essential records—like birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, certificates of authenticity and life insurance policies—in a fire safe or safe deposit box.

Future: Plan for the future and secure your assets

  • If you don’t have a life insurance policy, apply for one.
  • If you do, update the beneficiaries on your insurance policies and investment accounts.
  • Include a disability insurance policy.
  • Close any unused checking or saving accounts.
  • Start an emergency savings fund.
  • Combine auto insurance policies to get the multi-car discount.
  • If you own a home, document your combined valuables for homeowners insurance.
  • Add your wedding rings to your insurance policy.
  • Evaluate your health plans to see which one is better for your needs or if combining them will save you money.
  • Update or draft a will.
 
Getting married and combining your finances can be daunting! Thank goodness for Mountain America. We can help you with new checking and saving accounts, auto loans and so much more. We can even provide a free value analysis to potentially save you money on loans and credit cards from other financial institutions. Give us a try—we love helping our members achieve their financial dreams!
 
If you missed a previous installment of our Love and Money series, click below:
 
Part 1—9 Financial Basics
Part 2—Let’s Talk About Money infographic

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