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Tying the Knot Finances

Young couple with giftThe average age of a couple getting married today is older: age 31 for a man and 29 for a woman. This often means merging two households. CBS Boston says that if you both own your own home, you may want to think about selling them and buying one jointly, according to its recent article “Couples & Money: Ours? His? Hers?”
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.
As far as beneficiary designations, ensure that your spouse inherits your life insurance, IRAs, retirement plans, pensions, and annuities by updating the beneficiary designations. Review your health insurance policies to see who has the better insurance. And finally, you need to redo your estate planning now that you are married.
Reference: CBS Boston (June 8, 2016) “Couples & Money: Ours? His? Hers?”

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