Couples who come to a marriage with real property and financial assets do better when they address the “yours, mine, or ours” aspects of their newlywed lives.
With the average American newlywed now as old as age 31 for men and 29 for women, many couples start out married life with property and assets that each owned individually beforehand. In “Couples & Money: Ours? His? Hers?,” CBS Boston takes a look at what should be owned individually or jointly and presents good tips for couples to consider.
If you go ahead and sell one home and move into the other, you need to decide ownership issues. Will you add your new spouse to the deed and add him or her to the mortgage as a responsible party?
Another thing to consider is that marriage doesn’t automatically combine your credit reports. If one spouse has a poor credit report and is getting out of debt, you may want to keep things separate. If you do want to purchase a house in the future, you’ll have one good credit report and one good credit score. If you bring credit card debt or school loans into your marriage, you’re responsible for paying that off yourself.
As far as banking, think about a joint checking account for household expenses and savings. However, you should keep your individual checking accounts if you’re both working, so then you’ll have your own money.
Keep your own credit card, but know that you’re responsible for the payments. You may want to have a joint card for the household purchases.
Any assets you bring into the marriage—like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and savings—should be kept in your individual accounts. You can talk about using joint accounts for your future goals and tapping into your individual accounts to help you achieve those goals.
Make certain that you’re both taking advantage of retirement plans when available from your employer. Contribute the maximum you can afford.
Don’t forget to review beneficiary designations on IRAs, other retirement plans, pensions, life insurance policies and any other financial accounts that have a designated beneficiary.
Take a careful look at each of your health insurance policies to see who has the better plan.
If you have an estate plan in place, meet with your estate planning attorney to update your wills and other estate planning documents. If you don’t have a will or an estate plan, make sure to take care of this sooner rather than later. Think of it as a wedding gift you give to each other.
Reference: CBS Boston (June 8, 2016) “Couples & Money: Ours? His? Hers?”