Checklist: Getting Married

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Congratulations, you're getting married! Before those wedding bells start ringing, talk to your financial advisor for help with all the important financial decisions you'll need to address. This checklist can help you work through them together.

Agree on your financial goals

  • Discuss and identify short- and long-term financial goals.
  • Work with your financial advisor to determine the amount you need to save and invest each month to achieve your goals.
  • Develop a monthly budget – and stick to it.

Set up the basics

  • Schedule a regular time to review finances together.
  • List all of your assets and debts to develop a combined statement of net worth.
  • Discuss whether to merge your existing accounts.
  • Decide who will manage the day-to-day finances (e.g., bill paying and record keeping).
  • If changing your last name, update your Social Security card and driver's license.
  • Review credit reports to identify and correct errors, so there are no surprises when you make a large purchase together.
  • Review credit accounts and other debt. Eliminate debts with high interest rates.
  • If you own a home, consider refinancing if one or both of you have a good credit score, and plan to live there for at least five years.
  • Make sure each spouse has at least one credit card in his or her own name.
  • Discuss any student loans, and consolidate them, if possible.
  • Contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement plans – at least enough to earn an employer match, if one is offered.

Prepare for the unexpected

  • Save three to six months' worth of living expenses for emergencies.
  • Evaluate your health insurance options to determine the most economical and comprehensive choice.
  • Determine and purchase the appropriate amount of life and disability insurance.
  • If you own a small business or rental property, consider umbrella liability insurance or an asset ownership structure.

Review your investments

  • Meet with a financial advisor to conduct a thorough review of your financial needs.
  • Identify your retirement goals, and establish investment strategies that can help you achieve them.
  • Consolidate investment accounts where appropriate.
  • Review and update beneficiaries of your IRAs, 401(k) plans, life insurance, annuities and other accounts.

Consider income tax implications

  • Adjust your tax withholding on Form W-4 at your employer to reflect your new marital status.
  • Ask your tax professional whether individual or joint tax filing status is more appropriate, considering your situation.

Plan your estate

  • Update titles and re-register accounts and property as needed.
  • Work with an attorney to determine which of the following documents may be appropriate for you: 
    • Will 
    • Living will 
    • Durable health care power of attorney 
    • Health care power of attorney 
    • Trust

How we can help

Talk to us to define your goals and help you stick with the appropriate strategy designed to achieve them. It can be a lot to think about, so that's why your financial advisor is here to help.

Important Information:

Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your estate-planning attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

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