Going from being single to being part of a couple often means combining households and finances. The transition isn't always a smooth one, especially if the two of you have different money management styles. Communicating clearly about financial matters - past, present, and future - can help you start your life together on the right foot.
It's important to discuss your financial goals. Do you want to buy a house, start a business, or retire early? Discuss your current situation and where you see yourself in the future. Be sure to talk about your debts and work out a plan for resolving any debt-related issues you have. Together, come up with a budget you both can live with now and that will help you save for your long-term goals.
Set Up a System
You'll need a system for handling your finances. Decide who will pay the bills and if you'll have joint or separate bank accounts. Once you've devised a system you think will work, make sure each of you knows where to find all of your important financial information.
Review Retirement Accounts
Look at your retirement account investments with an eye toward uncovering investments that duplicate each other. If you both have significant holdings in the same investment, you risk losing a lot of money if the value of that investment plummets. Make sure your combined investments are well diversified* and that your combined asset allocation reflects your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.
You may be able to choose between your employers' health insurance plans. Compare the costs and benefits of your health care options to figure out which one to go with. Finally, make sure you each have enough life insurance coverage and, if necessary, update the beneficiary designations on your policies.
Your financial professional can help the two of you coordinate your finances.
* Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against loss in a declining market.