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Husband and wife sitting on couch drinking coffee and talking about managing their money in their marriage.
Marriage and Money

Finances for couples

Marriage and money can bring about some stress. Avoid some financial traps to maintain a healthy financial relationship.
Getting married is one of the most impactful decisions you can make in life. While celebrating all the great things about your new partnership, it's also important not to forget how your finances can play a role. Whether you've been happily married for years or you're about to say "I do," you don't want financial conflict to derail your decisions together. It’s a good idea to sit down and take a clear look at your finances, both as individuals and as a pair.

Considerations for couples combining finances

Before you get married, there are plenty of things to go over with your future spouse — from planning the big day to scheduling a possible honeymoon. Sometimes, discussions of your finances can get lost in the shuffle — but you certainly don't want to miss having the conversation altogether.

As you prepare to officially combine your finances, here are some topics to discuss:

  • How you'll combine everything: For example, you might fully join finances or prefer to have a joint account that you each contribute to, while keeping some money as "yours." Take time during this discussion to also figure out how you plan to pay bills.
  • Debt: One or both of you could have some form of debt, including student loans or credit card bills. You'll want to get a clear picture of that debt and start budgeting for it so you can work on paying it down.
  • Lifestyle plans: Plenty of people get married later in life or have second marriages years after their first ended. So you might be in a very different place getting married at 45 than you were at 25. Make sure you discuss your future plans and goals together so you can build your finances around them.
  • Prenuptial agreements: You might not want to go into a marriage thinking about how it could end. However, a prenuptial agreement is a financial document that can help protect children and assets. Many couples consider them.

Financial considerations for married couples

Money can be a sensitive issue to talk about, even if you're married. What's important is making sure you think about your finances as a team and work together to create long-term success with your financial goals. Here are some specific areas where addressing finances as a couple can help:

  • Taxes: Married couples have different tax considerations than those who file as individuals. Don't take tax season for granted. Work with a tax professional to identify some of the tax advantages you could benefit from as a married couple and if those make sense for you.
  • Retirement goals: As you age, your retirement planning can become more important than ever. Discuss what you'd like to get out of your retirement and then work on ways to save toward those goals. Contributing in a 401(k) through your work or opening an individual retirement account may help.
  • Life insurance: Once you're married, priorities can change. If you have kids or make a big purchase like a home, you'll want to ensure the people you love are protected. Life insurance can be one way to give you peace of mind they'll be taken care of if the unexpected happens.
  • Don't forget about fun: A lot of money discussions are around serious topics. However, don't forget about having some fun with your money, too! Consider setting aside savings that you can use for nights out, special treats and vacations to enjoy together.

Keep an open dialogue

Talking about money doesn't have to be a tricky subject. Take a look at your finances and work together to create a budget that you're both comfortable with and helps you hit your short- and long-term goals. The more open communication you have around your finances, the less likely you’ll run into monetary conflict in your relationship. 

 

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax-related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit www.protective.com.

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