A Financial To-Do List for Newlyweds

Business Features - February 15th, 2008
Magellan Japan

Provided by MAGELLAN:
THE FINANCIAL PLANNING COMPANY
Tel. 03-3769-5511

The planning is over for the wedding, so you can relax and enjoy the special day with friends and families, or can you?

Whether you’re 19 or 90, when you get married, there are a number of financial items that should be on any newlywed’s To-Do list after the excitement of the wedding dies down.

Change your beneficiaries—Go through all of your investment accounts, savings accounts, pension plans, insurance policies (life, health, car, home) and other accounts and review your beneficiary designations if you want your new spouse to own these assets, should something happen to you.

Review your insurance coverage—While you have those insurance policies out, review them to make sure they have the correct amount of cover, especially the household section, as you may have benefited from lots of wedding presents, as well as existing jewelry, computer equipment, collectibles, etc.

If both of you have health insurance cover, review the plans closely to see if it makes more sense financially, and from a benefits standpoint, to cancel one of the plans or keep both.

If your name changed, get a new passport, Alien Registration Card and drivers license. Remember to inform your home country’s driving agency too, even if you have a Japanese license.

Make a will. Remember, any previously written wills are invalid on marriage. Don’t delay this important item.

Review your financial goals (retirement, reducing debt, buying a new home, etc.), and set new goals as a couple.

Review your credit card and other debts and develop a plan for paying them off. This may take some time depending on how expensive the honeymoon is!

Calculate your combined net worth. It’s important to know where you stand financially as a couple.  Use bank statements, investment statements, credit card statements and other documents to list your combined assets and your combined debts to obtain a “snapshot” of your financial situation.

Develop a budget. Calculate your combined income and subtract your combined monthly expenses and debt repayments. Hopefully you’ll have something left over to build an emergency fund, add to your savings, or invest.

Decide on the mechanics for managing your financial affairs. Will you keep separate bank accounts and divvy up the bills that each of you will pay? Or will you put all your money in a joint account? Another option is to open a joint account that you each contribute to for household expenses but also maintain separate personal accounts, which gives each of you some spending freedom.

Decide which one of you will be responsible for paying the bills and taking care of other financial tasks. The best way to do this is by identifying each person’s strengths and assigning tasks accordingly.

Best wishes. Here’s hoping that money never comes between you!