I’m getting married on June 8, 2019. I am excited, and naturally a little nervous. But most of all, I’m happy to have met the love of my life and that my children are gaining a stepfather who loves and adores them.
Planning for our marriage took months, but not all of this planning was for our wedding day. We also had to think about my children, our household finances, our goals and dreams as husband and wife, and our wishes for each of us as individuals and together as a couple.
I was reminded that when going through a major life change, it was important for my husband and I to review our current financial situation, and discuss our mutual needs, wants and dreams. We also found it valuable to analyze our current financial picture with the professionals in my life and devise a game plan for us to implement.
Here are a few things I considered:
- My IRA and 401(k) beneficiaries—I can select anyone I choose as beneficiary of my retirement plan assets. The regulations for 401(k) plans require that I name my new spouse as my 401k beneficiary, but I can name someone else if he signs off on it. Because I have minor children from my first marriage, it’s important to me that I set-up my beneficiaries correctly to ensure my children’s future financial needs are cared for.
- Estate documents—After I am remarried, I will have to make sure to update my estate plan so that it’s arranged as I wish. Have I named the right people as executors and trustees? Are my medical directives and powers of attorney (financial and health care) up to date? What about guardianship for my children—have I had the conversation with my fiancée about my wishes, both from a financial and medical standpoint? Do I know his wishes as well?
- Retirement planning—Before getting engaged to Pat, I had my own idea of what my retirement would look like. But now that we’re getting married, what will retirement look like for us as a couple? Pat is older than me and will transition out of full-time work before I do. Planning for one spouse to retire while the other continues to work adds a different dimension to our future finances. How much will we need to save, and what can we do to live our best lives now and in the future?
- Big dreams for the future—We want to buy a condo in Ocean City, Maryland in the near future. That will require a big financial commitment. How much of a down payment will we be able to make? What if we rent out the condo for extra income—how much can we expect to earn, and what additional costs will we incur? How will it affect our taxes, and what can we do now to make managing the financial side of our dreams easier?
So many changes and transitions that occur over one person’s lifetime: graduations; new jobs and career changes; marriage, divorce and re-marriage; children and grandchildren; moving homes and buying property; caring for aging parents; retiring and growing older; death of a spouse or parent.
All these transitions come with financial challenges: saving and investing for the future; financing a first home; managing your tax liability; inheriting wealth and ensuring that your wealth is inherited as you see fit.
It’s important that we plan for these events well before they occur—sometimes even many years in advance. Also, we should enlist the help of professionals who can help navigate these very complex issues.
A financial planner brings a world of experience to the table, prompting you to think of possibilities you may not have considered previously. Work with a dedicated planner who can help you plan for any eventualities and allow you to live your best possible life.