Money Matters: Talk About These BEFORE The Wedding

This week, Craig Siminski, of CMS Retirement Income Planning, shares an article discussing an overview of financial topics couples should discuss to help keep surprises and disagreements from disrupting newlywed bliss:

If you are engaged to be married, or might be soon, it’s important to consider how this change in your relationship (and legal status) will affect your finances.

Share Debt Stories

Many Americans bring college debt into their marriages, and some individuals have had bankruptcies or other severe credit challenges. Taking a close look at both credit reports may help resolve debt and credit issues before they spiral out of control.

Discuss Banking and Bill-Paying

Working together to prepare a preliminary household budget may help you start off on the right foot. If you decide not to pool all your income and assets, make sure you clearly define what belongs to each of you separately and what you will share.

Some married couples use a joint account for living expenses and separate accounts for personal spending.

Look Closely at Company Health Plans

You may need to coordinate two sets of workplace benefits, so keep in mind that many companies apply a surcharge to encourage a worker’s spouse to use other available coverage.

Compare the costs and benefits of having both of you on the same plan versus keeping your individual coverage with each employer.

Anticipate Joint Income Taxes

Most married couples pay more total tax when they file separately than when they file jointly. But there are rare occasions when filing separate returns could result in a lower combined tax liability or provide another benefit. For example, if you or your fiancée have federal student loans, filing separately might help you qualify for a lower monthly payment under an income-based repayment plan. But you could also lose certain tax credits and pay more income tax, so it’s important to weigh your options carefully.

Combining your incomes could land you in a higher (or lower) tax bracket. To avoid owing money at tax time, you may want to use…

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Craig Siminski is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, with more than 25 years of experience. His goal is to provide families, business owners, and their employees with assistance in building their financial freedom.

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