With its warm weather, long days and flowers in full bloom, it's no wonder that June is the most popular month for weddings. But with all the craziness that comes with planning a wedding, you may have lost sight of the fact that after you say your "I do's," you and your spouse will be joined by more than just your hearts - you'll be joined at the wallet too.
Here are five important financial steps newlyweds need to take as soon as they return from their honeymoon:
- Start an emergency savings fund. A financial rainy day is never forecast on the Weather Channel, so it's important to always have at least six months worth of income in a savings account, or money market fund.
- Get life insurance. In addition to emotional support, you depend on each other financially too. If one of you should die unexpectedly, it's important to make sure that the other will have the money they need to cover expenses, debts and whatever else may lie ahead.
- Have "the talk." Tell each other where all of the key financial information (like checking, savings, and investment accounts, mortgages, insurance, etc.), and important non-financial information and valuables (like birth/marriage certificates, titles/deeds for house/cars, jewelry, safe deposit key, etc.) are located. You should also discuss any outstanding debts you might have, since your credit scores will be combined moving forward.
- Draw up a will. A lot of people don't have a will until they get married - so now's the time. Your will specifies executors, guardians and trustees. And don't forget to get a living will too to make sure your spouse know whether or not you want to be kept on artificial life support. You and your spouse should also designate a power of attorney - someone authorized to manage your affairs, typically financial ones, if you're not able to handle them yourself.
- Get advice. The two of you probably already know what your long-term dreams are - so start planning now. A qualified financial advisor will help you determine how much life insurance you need, as well as help you prioritize other financial planning goals like a vacation, a new home, your children's education or retirement.