Still picking rice out of your hair? Your new marriage means time to review and revise all of your planning:
Marriage means combined incomes, a different risk profile, and new planning objectives. As newlyweds review your overall financial goals and objectives and revise all of your investments accordingly.
A newlyweds you may retain separate investment accounts to segregate gift or inherited assets: to protect their immunity in the event the marriage doesn't work out, as a result of an express provision in your prenuptial agreement, or because one of you has greater malpractice risk. But even if you keep separate accounts, you your should coordinate overall investment planning as a family. To do this efficiently, consolidate your accounts withone manager. Approach 1: If you maintain separate accounts, each account could have its own asset allocation. If the marriage doesn't work out you can more fairly go your separate waysthen if you had only equities and your spouse only bonds. Approach 2: Use an aggregate approach with an overall asset allocation for both of you so that the accounts as a whole are balanced. With this approach, you can focus tax exempt funds on less tax efficient investment transactions and the spouse most at risk for malpractice might hold the hedge funds and alternatives which would be harder for a claimant to seize.
Your goals, needs and lifestyles are likely to change from when you were each single. So it's really worth revising the budget in light of the new objectives. This can be then coordinated with your investment planning revisions. The budget should start to take account of long term goals most single people don't address, like a new home, a child, even retirement.
Pre-nups are common and need to be considered well before your marriage. If one should have been completed, but wasn't, a post-nuptial agreement can be done. While likely not to be as effective as a pre-nuptial agreement, it can still avoid a lot of heartache if the marriage doesn't work out. Also, pre- and post-nuptial agreements can be used to backstop asset protection and other planning. In any event, whether you have a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, signing it should not be the end of its relevance to your planning. Even if it was an unpleasant experience, don't ignore it. Consider periodically how the agreement affects your planning. Once done, the handling of all post-marital finances should be addressed in accordance with the provisions of the prenuptial agreement. For example, if one spouse is to pay certain expenses or keep separate accounts, that should be done. If accounts are supposed to be titled a certain way, do so. If you vary from the agreement, document that you are intentionally doing so. If the variations are significant have your respective matrimonial counsel prepare a modification.
Life Insurance: Most singles don't have life insurance, but when you married you may have bought a house, or taken on more debt then before. Debt and financial obligations indicate a need for insurance to address the risk of death.The fact that you are both working doesn't mean that the unexpected death of one of you won't affect the survivor in a financially ruinous manner. Insurance is likely to be inexpensive and easily obtainable at this young stage of your lives. If a child is even as possibility, get insurance in force well in advance. The time to consider coverage is not after the baby is born.
If you have a large mortgage for the first time, a disability of either of you would be a financial disaster. Disability planning may not have been an issue when single because neither of you may have had the level of debt and "overhead" that you now have as a married couple.
You need new wills, powers of attorney and living wills. At this stage each of you may name your own family members, not your new spouse, but these issues need to be addressed.
Don't forget to update your IRA, retirement plan, insurance and other beneficiary designations to reflect your new spouse, if that is your intent.
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