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Financial and Marital Bliss

If you’re in the process of planning your wedding you’ve likely got lots on your mind, from finding the perfect dress to deciding who makes the guest list.  The wedding to-do list can get rather long but here is one more item to add:  talking about your finances as a couple. 

Money has become a subject couples tend to avoid, but addressing it head-on can help you and your spouse to get on the same page, so Dian and J Markthat you can reach your financial goals together—happily, till death do you part.

Discuss Your Financial Goals
It is important that you are both working towards the same ends. Discuss your financial goals.  Also talk about your spending habits and attitudes towards money. If there are major differences, you'll need to come up with a workable solution. If you only buy bargains, and he likes to spend to the max, you'll have issues unless you do this.

Developing a budget together as a couple (especially before the big day) can help you assess where your money is going, spot any problem areas, and keep you on track to achieving your long-term goals—and contribute to security, well being, and eliminate surprises.

Single or Joint Accounts?
Couples often have trouble deciding whether they should pool their money. Joint accounts will prove handy for taking care of shared expenses, such as the mortgage or simply for groceries. Even so, many experts recommend that each spouse maintain a separate account in his or her own name to have their own spending money and maintain some independence.

Sharing the Plastic
Some experts don’t recommend that couples share credit cards. However, it is often more practical to track expenses on one card. Having separate credit cards, in addition to a joint one, enables both partners to continue to maintain their independent credit rating.

Marriage Contracts (ahem, Prenups)
With so many individuals getting married at a later stage in their professional lives, many couples come into the marriage as more established individuals with a larger asset base that they may wish to protect. While negotiating a prenup can be trying, it can also be an opportunity for couples to examine how they expect to manage their financial affairs, to make appropriate financial plans, and to ensure that they see their future in similar ways. It can also save heartache down the road. Looking at the realistic odds, the divorce rate in Canada is approximately 41% before the 30th year of marriage.

Your Golden Years
No matter how young you are, it's never too soon for each partner to consider a strategy to build up registered retirement portfolios or savings. Ultimately you will be sharing in the retirement income that you both accumulate, so it is important that you both take the time to discuss how you wish to approach this and take advantage of any tax advantages or income-splitting opportunities along the way. Read more about these strategies here.

Planning for the Unexpected
Emotions aside, as soon as you become married or co-habit/are common law, it financially matters to your spouse if you die. Everyone who enjoys good health hopes it will last for a lifetime. However, your life can change in a day—accident, illness, disaster. While insurance can’t prevent that from happening, it can help you cope and plan for the unexpected.

It is important that you analyze your situation and answer questions such as: How much insurance do I need? If I had died yesterday, would I have left sufficient assets to provide for my family? Which family members or business partners should be insured? Also ensure you have a will, and do it sooner rather than later. If you don't, the government may decide what happens to your possessions and your money. This is also important for new relationships—where are there are blended families, for example.

The Real Secret: Communication
If couples discuss these issues before getting married and take the time to regularly communicate about money, it can save them many headaches in the long run. As the Greek Philosopher Socrates once said, “By all means marry. If you get a good [spouse], you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. ”

If you’d like to discuss these or other financial planning strategies, please contact Dian at 416.842.4234 or [email protected]. Learn more at (In the photo above—Dian and J Mark!)





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