Getting engaged? Congratulations! And now that you're preparing for your future together, it's time to sit down and start tailoring your financial planning to your new outlook as a couple. To get started together, here are 4 things you should do next.
Change Beneficiaries. Beneficiary designations tend to be easily overlooked, but changing them is often not difficult. You may be able to do it online or with a single new signature, so it's an easy way to begin. Make a list of all your benefits at work, accounts at your bank, brokerage accounts,and insurance policies so that you don't forget any. Take this opportunity to review coverage amounts to see if they remain sufficient.
Update Your Will. If you already have a will in place, make an appointment with an attorney to change it to reflect your new family situation. If you don't have a will drawn up, now is the time to get serious about it. Unmarried partners are not automatically as legally protected in the event of your untimely death, so protect your loved one by putting your wishes in writing.
Decide on Financial Goals. Sit down as a couple and create a master list of your shared financial priorities and goals. This may include starting a family, saving for retirement, going back to school, buying a home, or travelling. Many couples fail to plan together sufficiently, and they find it hard to meet goals since they're not striving for the same things. Prioritize your shared list of financial priorities and give them time lines.
Meet with a Financial Planner. Choose a financial planner with whom you are both comfortable. Share your list of goals and wants as well as your current family financial situation so that you are all on the same page. You may also want to discuss each person's tolerance for risk, ethical investment concerns, and experience with investing.
Meet Together. As time passes, you and your partner or spouse will probably find yourselves busy and distracted. But be sure to meet together as a family and review your financial situation and progress. Track your progress toward shared goals so you see the gains. Make small adjustments to stay on track. And recognize that things could change, so you may need to revise your plans together.
By following these few steps, you and your fiance will be able to start your new life as a family with a clear understanding of what to do with your money and how you will use it together to get where you want to go.