A financial checklist
married? These six financial steps will help you smoothly combine your fiscal
1. Draft or update your
You probably don't want to leave everything to mom and dad now that you're married.
Review them again when you have kids.
Update your life
insurance. This coverage is designed to replace income lost due to death,
so make sure the benefits go to your new spouse who's now dependent upon your
income. It's also a good time to make sure the coverage is sufficient for your
3. Revisit your retirement
savings plans. If you have individual retirement accounts, update the
beneficiary designations here, too.
Don't forget your workplace
retirement plans. Does your employer match your contributions, but your spouse's
company doesn't? You might want to maximize contributions to the matching plan
to take advantage of what is basically free money, says Eric Tyson, author of
"Personal Finance for Dummies."
that should you eventually split up, the spouse who didn't maximize company savings
account options could be at a nest-egg disadvantage.
Examine your income tax withholdings. Are you splitting one income between
two people or has your household income just taken a gigantic jump? Either situation
could produce an unwanted tax surprise when you file your return if you're not
having the appropriate amount of payroll tax withheld. Do some quick calculations
and adjust your
5. Implement a savings
strategy. Some couples like joint accounts; others prefer to have each partner
salt away money separately. It doesn't matter. Just start saving. Ruth Hayden,
author of "For Richer, Not Poorer: The Money Book for Couples," says
that couples who get into the savings habit at the beginning of their relationships
"will never regret it."
your annual tax return as a financial yardstick. "It's a fabulous measuring
tool," says Hayden. "If young newlyweds do this, it will make them feel
good and help them stay on track."
Dratch is a freelance writer based in Atlanta