Getting Married? Me Too. Here's My Plan..

Congrats! You and your best friend are getting married! After all of the laughs, the tears, ups & downs the two of you have decided to spend the rest of your lives together. To grow, travel, start a family, and binge on Netflix together. As I write this it has been 328 days since I asked my best friend to marry me with another 273 days left for her to come to her senses. As much as I’d love for this blog post to detail all of the awesome wedding planning we’ve done and how we have all of the tips and inside information for any of you out there starting on this planning journey, I’ve been informed (by my fiancé of course) that Pinterest & TheKnot are the likely go-to places for that sort of thing. What I will share however, is the path we’re taking to combine our finances and unite two completely independent people financially.

Everyone knows that the key to any successful relationship is communication. The same goes for having a successful financial relationship together. If you’re anything like my fiancé and I, both of you have likely been financially independent for a long time. So how do two financially independent people actually become one? For some of my friends and clients who work in Mergers & Acquisitions, this could be one of the most complex M&A deals of your career! The answer, or at least mine, is maybe you don’t. More and more often I speak with friends and other couples who have gone down this path. They keep much of their finances separate and combine a great deal of them as well. For example, below I have outlined exactly how my fiancé and I are going to be combining finances while maintaining a lot of independence as well. Here’s how we plan on structuring our finances;

Myself:

·         Individual Checking & Savings Account

·         Individual Credit Card

·         Personal Retirement & Investment Accounts

Fiancé

·         Individual Checking & Savings Account

·         Individual Credit Card

·         Personal Retirement & Investment Accounts

Joint

·         Joint Checking & Savings Account (for joint expenses and savings goals)

·         Joint Credit Card (for joint expenses & vacations)

·         Combined Retirement Goals (although we maintain individual accounts we strive towards retirement together)

The discussions we had before deciding on our plan revolved around us wanting to strive towards goals together while also not wanting to micro manage each other’s finances. We exercise the same philosophy I communicate to every client of mine, save first (in this case save towards our joint accounts) and spend what’s left over (in our individual accounts). People who spend first and save what’s left over will find themselves always having financial problems and causing unnecessary fights over money. Because of this, having a healthy financial plan together can have a great impact on maintaining a healthly relationship and marriage.

                I encourage everyone who’s considering marriage or is engaged to start this conversation. Talking money can be uncomfortable, but it is the best course of action to avoid problems in the future. Understand each other’s spending and savings habits. Are either of you in debt? Do you understand how that debt may affect you once you get married? Tackle these goals together as the team that you are and leave more time to enjoy the best parts of marriage.

                I’m happy to share my own personal take on marital finances and hope this helps you get the conversation started!

Christopher DeVito, Partner

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