CPAs offer financial tips for newlyweds

With wedding season in full swing, it’s important for couples to discuss their post-nuptial financial lives before anyone says, “I do.” According to a recent Money magazine survey, 84% of couples say money causes arguments in their marriages.

“Many couples find it difficult to discuss money,” Janice Zajac, CPA, owner of Financial Responsibility Analysis Systems, said. “The best way to overcome financial obstacles as a couple is to jointly review bills and establish a spending and savings plan you both agree with. This allows you both to play a key role in your financial future, preventing one spouse from becoming the primary or sole financial manager.”

These tips can also help alleviate the stress that comes with merging money.

Be honest about financial pasts. To avoid unexpected surprises, talk openly about each other’s financial situation. Make sure to get copies of your credit reports from each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies. These can be requested for free every 12 months at Knowing what debt you already have will ensure you both have realistic financial expectations going into your marriage.

Discuss money management. Will you have a joint account, separate accounts or both; what is your savings plan; who will handle the bookkeeping and investment planning? Before you tie the knot, make sure you have both agreed on the answers to these questions. It’s important that you are both in agreement, so you can begin saving for your future.

Get your documents in order. Marriage triggers several changes that should be reflected in key financial paperwork. You may want to add your spouse as the beneficiary for your insurance policies, 401 (k) plan, individual retirement accounts, investment and savings accounts and any other assets. Also, don’t forget to write or update your wills to ensure that your family is provided for.

Zajac recommends creating a worksheet to manage your important documents that is updated yearly when you prepare your tax return.

“Building a basic worksheet is a simple way to keep track of your life documents.” Zajac said. “Make sure to update your worksheet at least once a year, so your important documents are always in order.”

Review your insurance. Combining insurance policies may leave you with too much or too little coverage in some areas. If you are moving, asses your homeowner’s or renter’s policy to make sure it fully covers your new location. Look closely at each spouse’s health insurance to see if one policy is better than the other. This is also a good time to begin analyzing your life insurance options to ensure that each spouse is well provided for and that you have chosen the policy that suits your needs.

Budget for the future. Whether you are saving for a new house, children or a luxurious vacation, creating a budget you both agree on will help you avoid financial problems and disappointments down the road while keeping you on track to meet your financial goals.

Reprinted with permission from the Ohio Society of CPAs.

You may like these other stories...

By Deanna C. White Millennials may be incredibly savvy when it comes to using technology to research nearly every decision they make, but when it comes to determining their financial habits, a new survey suggests they...
By Deanna C. White A survey by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) indicates that many American parents are still reluctant to engage their children in significant conversations about money, with only 13 percent of...
By Jason Bramwell The percentage of higher education leaders who  are "very concerned" about their ability to maintain current enrollment levels is on the rise, according to the second annual Higher...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 16
Hand off work to others with finesse and success. Kristen Rampe, CPA will share how to ensure delegated work is properly handled from start to finish in this content-rich one hour webinar.
Jul 17
This webcast will cover the preparation of the statement of cash flows and focus on accounting and disclosure policies for other important issues described below.
Jul 23
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.