Getting married introduces a world of change to newlyweds’ lives, as spouses consolidate and coordinate everything from their homes to their personal schedules. Money matters are especially important to newly married couples as they combine the personal finances of two single individuals into a unified family financial plan. Understanding the financial issues that need to be taken care of can help you and your spouse hit the ground running with your household money management.
Bank Accounts - Married couples have to decide whether to hold separate bank accounts, joint bank accounts or both. Joint bank accounts can add convenience to family finances, allowing both spouses to add and tap into a single pool of finances for bills, necessities and discretionary spending. On the other hand, maintaining separate bank accounts can reduce confusion and add accountability to personal spending while eliminating potential arguments over unaccounted-for spending.
Tax Considerations - Married couples have additional options at tax-time. Spouses can choose to file their taxes jointly or as "married, filing separately." Filing separately carries tax advantages in a small number of specific situations; filing jointly allows married couples to take advantage of a wider range of deductions, as well as share a single tax rate for their combined income.
Assets - The increasing rate of divorce in the United States remains an unfortunate reality, introducing a number of non-traditional considerations to the marriage equation. Married couples undergoing a divorce can go through bitter, drawn-out fights over who legally owns which assets. Engaged couples may do well to draw up pre-nuptial agreements listing exactly which assets each spouse brings into the marriage and exactly how jointly purchased assets are to be shared or liquidated in the unfortunate event of a divorce.
Investment - Married couples have to consider additional factors when making investment decisions. Single people generally invest money either to boost their incomes or save for retirement. Families, on the other hand, have to consider events like children's college tuition and real estate upgrades as the family grows in addition to traditional considerations such as retirement. Families who have robust investment plans in place with individual investments pegged to specific family objectives can make things easier on themselves in the future.
Budgeting - Budgeting and practical money management take on new dimensions in a marriage. Rather than governing a single person's spending habits, a family budget governs two people's spending at once. Spouses have to work together on their budgets to ensure that the household's income continually exceeds expenses. If both spouses shop for household necessities, for example, they will have to communicate and coordinate their spending to ensure that their combined household expenses do not exceed their budgeted total.