Financially happily ever after
Provided by RBC Wealth Management
and Dave Dupont
Spring and summer tend to be the most popular wedding times of the year. Amidst the love, flowers and talk of living happily ever after, young couples may want to discuss joining together financially as well as matrimonially.
Even in good times, stress over finances can cause problems in a marriage. A first step should include honest communication with your significant other about finances. Here are some ideas about where to start.
A sobering statistic: approximately half of all marriages end in divorce. In light of that, some couples opt to draft and sign prenuptial agreements prior to marriage, which are designed to dictate financial terms of the union or the divorce. Agreements vary, but they can be used to protect any or all assets from the marital estate — basically ensuring that in the case of a divorce, you take with you what is yours.
Creating a big financial picture:
Regardless of whether you sign a prenuptial agreement, you should sit down with your betrothed and have a heart-to-heart about the big financial picture you want to create. This means discussing everything — your salaries, current savings levels, assets and debt. You should also discuss your near- and long-term financial goals and priorities, such as buying a house or saving for retirement.
Once you get the big picture squared away, you are going to have to determine your joint expenses and how you’ll pay them. You’ll need to determine how you want to blend your finances. You could have a single account in which you share everything, separate accounts in which you make deposits and withdrawals individually, or both a joint account and separate accounts.
Signing on the dotted line:
Last but not least, don’t forget the paperwork. Once the nuptials are completed, you’ll need to change your beneficiary documents, including insurance policies, retirement accounts, benefits, wills, trusts or any document that requires the designation of a next of kin.
Getting married is a monumental event that affects all aspects of your life, including your financial life. Talking to each other and learning to compromise can help ensure a smooth transition and hopefully help with the happily ever after … at least financially. Contact your financial professional for advice.