Money and Marriage

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Money and Marriage
Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know!

Dear Engaged Couple—

I’m back at it for more tips for your big day.  This week I would like to address that “wirty dord,” FINANCES.—so unromantic and yet so much a part of our lives.  Right now you might not be able to see beyond financing your wedding reception,  but of course, this is just the beginning of your financial lives as a couple.  One of my daughters, who is an attorney, seconds what I have been reading in regard to finances and marriages—prenuptial agreements are not just the purview of the rich and famous.  EVERY engaged couple should at least consider having an attorney draw up a prenuptial agreement, so that financial disasters can be averted.  Or, if you don’t want to go that route, go to, to draw up your own agreement, and also to write (or rewrite) your will)taking into account new family dynamics. Legalzoom will run you over $500 for the prenup, so don’t think this is the cheap way out; but it’s important.  As a premarital counselor I can tell you that money is an issue even before vows are spoken.  Money can become even MORE of an issue after the wedding.   So, here are some things to consider as you make plans to tie the knot:

1)     Will you be keeping your savings/checking accounts separate, or will you be combining your accounts?   If you combine them, remember that you will have to agree on how all your money is spent. You may at least want to keep some play money in a separate account to be used for gift-giving, a pedicure, or golf with the guys. 

2)    What is your credit history?  Will one or the other of you be bringing debt into this marriage?  Even if you keep your checking accounts separate, you are both responsible for each other’s indebtedness.  How are you planning to pay off a debt?  Will this be a joint effort, or will one or the other of you take primary responsibility?

3)    How will you take care of day-to-day expenses? Who buys the milk?  Who pays for tickets to the movie or football game? You say you don’t care now, but you just might down the road, especially if you are the one always pulling out your wallet.  

4)    What are your long term financial goals, individually and as a couple?  Do you want to save money for a trip around the world?  A yacht?  Kids? Perhaps one of you is hoping to start a business or go back to school.  If there are children from a prior marriage, are they financially independent, or will you as a couple be supporting them financially? 


5)   Do you know how your marriage will impact your taxes?  Tax laws sometimes penalize two income households.  It makes sense to visit a tax accountant before the big day to determine your marriage’s tax implications. 

6) Finally,  there are social security regs regarding remarriage.  I don’t even begin to understand the ins and out of this.  But, if you are getting remarried, you would be wise to contact the Social Security Administration.  Go to ;or phone 1-800-772-1213; 7a.m. 

 If all of this hasn’t turned you off from tying the knot, then you really ARE in love! Congratulations for setting a good foundation for what lies ahead by taking care of the financial end of your lives together.   

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