If you are newly engaged and are beginning to think about wedding planning, you’re likely creating multiple checklists to keep you on task. In addition to a wedding planning checklist, you should also consider creating a financial timeline and checklist to ensure your budget stays on track.
In addition to your budget, there are a lot of other things you need to consider in terms of your finances, especially if you are joining bank accounts or buying a house during the wedding planning process. It’s best to plan ahead while you have time, then find yourself in a position where you need to scramble to get everything done quickly later.
Below we’ll outline some of the financial considerations you should keep in mind during the wedding planning process.
One Year Prior to Your Wedding
Around the time you get engaged, or a year out from your wedding you should start having financial discussions with your finance. This might include discussing how you want to budget and spend your money. Whether you plan to purchase a home, have children, or handle large future purchases. This is also a good time to discuss your wedding budget and that into your discussion.
Creating a combined budget for when you are married is a good idea at this time, so you can plan for things like emergency funds, bills, travel expenses, and retirement monies.
Another topic of discussion should be what kind of debt, (if any) you are both bringing into your marriage. This could be anything from student loans, credit card debt, child support payments, or anything else that can financially impact you as a couple.
Six Months Prior to the Wedding
This is a good time to start dividing financial responsibilities among the two of you. Who is going to be responsible for balancing your checkbook, who will pay the household bills each month and so on? Having these conversations early will alleviate headaches down the line and reduce the chance of missing a payment that is due. You may also want to discuss how you want to handle spending money. Will you consult with each other on purchases? Or will you discuss large purchases only? What constitutes a large purchase?
Keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers here. You simply need to decide what works for the two of you as a couple.
This is also a good time to evaluate your respective health insurance plans and decide whether you want to go onto one plan or keep your individual plans. In some cases, it may actually be more cost-effective to keep individual plans. Again, this is something only the two of you can determine.
Three Months Before Your Wedding
At this point, it’s a good idea to decide whether you are going to have separate or joint bank accounts during your marriage. If you plan to have a joint account, now is a good time to open the account since you will likely have your bridal shower in this period, and may receive some monetary gifts. Don’t forget to open a checking account as well, and order some checks to make any payments you incur in the weeks right after your wedding.
After Your Wedding
Although you’ve done the bulk of your financial planning and discussions by now, there are some new circumstances you need to consider now that you’re married. One example is your budget. After you have been married 3-6 months you should go back to your budget and see if it is still feasible, or if it needs to be tweaked a little.
This is also a good time to update all of your financial institutions, like your bank, credits cards, and anyone you owe money to of your new name if one of you have changed your last name.
Another thing to now consider is whether you want to update your beneficiaries on any legal documents you have, or on any of your assets. This may include your bank accounts, retirement plans, or even if you Will if you have one. If you don’t have a Will or Estate Plan, this is a good time to consider having one created.
Depending on the time of year you get married, will impact how soon you need to consider this step. Depending on how you plan to file taxes and what you claim on your income will heavily impact how you handle this step. You should have a discussion with your accountant beforehand so you know exactly what documents will be required of you for tax time, to make filing your tax return stress-free.