Wedding season is in full swing! Witnessing two young people committing their lives to each other, in sickness and in health, whether rich or poor, is powerful. After the weeks, months, or even years of wedding planning, the last thing the young couple wants to think about is starting a new list. However, the list entitled “things to do when we return from our honeymoon” should consist of discussing financial goals, creating a new household budget, starting an emergency reserve fund, updating beneficiaries on all life insurance and retirement accounts, and establishing an estate plan complete with a will and empowerment documents.
Combining two financial lives is time consuming and requires open, constant communication, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. First, start by discussing your financial goals and prioritizing them. Do you want to save for a down payment on your first home? Pay off student loans? Begin planning for a growing family?
Once you have agreed on your goals, create a household budget and stick to it. Budgeting is the most critical component of financial health, and ultimately financial success. Keep in mind the budget will change from month to month, so don’t set it and forget it. Revisit the budget you agreed upon by having periodic meetings, every couple of weeks.
Although this new list doesn’t consist of trying on dresses, visiting bakeries (my favorite part!), or looking through floral arrangements, it does have the potential, just like your wedding list, to help you plan for a lifetime of financial security!
Think of it this way --- you put in countless hours of planning for one, perfect wedding day. How much time are you willing to spend on your family’s financial health to plan for happily ever after?
- Written by Elizabeth Braden, CFP® Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors