Getting married is a romantic time, full of flowers, cards and well wishes. But after the wedding, reality sets in. For many women that means applying to change your last name. For some couples, it means moving in together.
But everyone needs to make sure to overhaul their finances once you get married. Take a look below to make sure you’ve merged your finances correctly.
Many banks require you to go in person to add each other on your accounts. You can also go in and create a new account together. My husband and I still have separate accounts, even though we consider all our money joint.
The only reason we don’t have an account with both of our names on it is that I often open and close bank accounts to get a bonus. But if you keep one primary checking and savings account, it’s a good idea to have both of your names on it. It makes depositing checks easier and is a good backup in case something happens to one of you and you can’t access the account.
Once you’re married, call your insurance companies and merge your policies. If you use different companies, make sure to compare rates first to see who will give you the better deal.
Either way, you’ll get a better rate for having multiple policies, especially if you have renter’s or homeowner’s insurance with the same company that covers your vehicle. An insurance salesman once told me that getting married also decreases your rates, because companies see you as more reliable.
Add each other as authorized users
If you plan to merge your finances, it’s important to add your spouse as an authorized user on your accounts, and vice versa. You usually have to call your credit card company to add them as an authorized user, but some companies will allow you to do it online.
It allows you each to get a credit card under the same account, making it easier to rack up rewards and points. Since I churn, it’s so much easier to reach the spending minimums when both of you are using the same card.
You often hear of spouses dying without the other one being aware of the finances. How horrible would it be to die without telling your wife about how to access your retirement accounts? Find a way to make sure all the information is located in one place – whether that’s in a filing cabinet or on a cloud storage system.
Both of you should be aware what you’re entitled to if something happens. Are you cosigned on any loans that you might become responsible for? Do you have any debt that you’d still be obligated to pay? Will you be able to afford to make regular payments on your house if you lose one person’s salary? Figure these things out before you really need to know.
If the worst should happen
For many couples, life insurance is unnecessary when you’re first starting out. If you don’t have a mortgage or kids, you usually don’t need a policy. Some people decide to buy a term policy while they’re young, to lock in rates. But for most couples, it’s unnecessary.
Many companies offer modest life insurance plans as a benefit and often that amount is sufficient for funeral expenses. This is also where an emergency fund can come into play.
If you do have a house or children, you most likely want a will. You can find templates online or hire an attorney to draft one for you. This is an awkward and uncomfortable conversation to have, but it’s better to go through it when everything is fine than it is to worry about money when you’re grieving.
How did you organize your finances after marriage? Let us know in the comments!
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