Get your marriage off on the right financial foot with these financial planning tips for engaged couples
Take a quick scroll down any of your social media feeds and you’ll see that ‘tis the season to be married. After all, a third of engagements take place between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day and the always popular “Pop the Question” day, Valentine’s Day, is right around the corner. For better or for worse, marriage is a merging of hearts, families, and money. Before you say “I do”, here are some important financial planning tips to consider:
- Full disclosure. Share all your financial details with your partner. Communication and honesty are critical parts of any healthy relationship and marriage. Accordingly, you should have complete financial transparency with your partner and be open and honest about all parts of your finances—the good, the bad, and the ugly. While talking about money can be difficult, the goal is not to make anyone uncomfortable but rather get everything out on the table. It is critical that you know what financial assets and liabilities each partner will be bringing into the marriage. Talk open and honestly about each partner’s debt, investments, savings, stocks, financial history, and money management philosophies. You may find it easier and more productive to use a financial advisor to help guide you through these conversations.
- To prenup or not to prenup? A prenuptial agreement (or “prenup” for short) is a written contract two people enter into before their marriage. The content of prenup agreements can vary greatly, but in general a prenup sets forth what will happen to you and your partner’s assets and income in the event of your marriage ending. Prenup agreements aren’t just for celebrities and high net worth individuals. While a prenup may not be the most romantic idea, more and more couples are opting for one. Prenups can both help manage the expectations of each party and prevent surprises in the case of a divorce. It’s highly recommended that you discuss this issue with your financial advisor and attorney.
- Discuss your short–term and long-term financial goals. Discuss your financial goals, both short-term and long-term, with your partner. From a financial perspective, what do you hope to accomplish during your first year of marriage? For example, short-term goals may include paying off debt, saving for a down payment on a home, or starting a savings or investment account. Discuss your financial goals for five years out and ten years out. Do you want to buy a home? Do you want to have children? Do you want to start a new business? What are your retirement plans? It is important that you and your partner discuss and agree on major financial decisions. It may be helpful to hire a financial advisor who can help you set financial goals, make a financial plan, and hash out issues concerning saving, spending, and investing.
- Joint or separate bank accounts? As a couple, one of the most fundamental financial decisions you’ll have to make is whether to treat money as a joint asset or as something that should be managed separately. As part of blending you and your partner’s financial lives together, you’ll need to decide whether you want to have separate bank accounts, joint bank accounts, or a hybrid of the two. Traditionally, married couples have merged their finances into a shared bank account. However, more and more couples—especially as people are getting married older and bring more substantial assets and/or debt into the marriage—are deciding to have separate bank accounts.
To learn even more financial planning tips for engaged couples, check back on the Summit Brokerage Blog for the soon-to-be-published second installment of this blog.
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About Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.
Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group. Summit Brokerage provides a broad range of securities brokerage and investment services to primarily individual investors. Summit Brokerage also sells insurance products, predominantly fixed and variable annuities and life insurance through its subsidiary, SBS Insurance Agency of Florida. Summit Brokerage also provides asset management services through its investment advisor, Summit Financial Group, Inc.
About Cetera Financial Group
Cetera Financial Group® (“Cetera”) is a leading network of independent retail broker-dealers empowering the delivery of objective financial planning advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions. Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.
Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations. Advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and financial planning and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology. For more information, visit www.ceterafinancialgroup.com.
*”Cetera Financial Group” refers to the network of retail independent broker-dealers encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities, The Legend Group and Summit Brokerage Services.