Getting ready to get married checklist

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The opportunity to go through life with a loving partner may be the greatest benefit of a successful marriage or domestic partnership. That said, marriage may affect your finances in many ways. It can shape your ability to save for financial goals, to plan for retirement, to plan your estate, and to capitalize on tax and insurance-related benefits.

Catalogue what you and your partner each bring to your impending marriage

  • If you're both employed, two salaries can be a considerable benefit toward building your long-term financial future. Discuss your combined cash, savings and investments.
  • Make sure that all of your financial bases are covered by reviewing all credit cards and installment debt
  • Do either of you have student loans outstanding?
  • What are your real estate assets and mortgage liabilities?
  • How about automobiles, along with the liabilities for their loans, leases and insurance?
  • Personal possessions such as family heirlooms, jewelry, fine art and antiques?
  • Retirement plan account balances and vested benefits?
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), alimony, child support orders or other legal liabilities and commitments?

Chart your immediate course together

  • Have you considered a prenuptial agreement? This is a legal document that permits a couple to keep their finances separate and to determine control of property and assets either partner might have had prior to the marriage.
  • If either of you has children or other dependents, how will you address their financial interests in the new family?
  • Have an honest conversation about financial habits and objectives. Will you have joint or separate checking and credit accounts? Who will see that the bills are paid each month? How will you set family budget and spending priorities?
  • Determine whose employer-sponsored health insurance offers more attractive benefits.

Discuss your long-term joint financial goals, such as buying a home or investing for retirement

  • How much will each of you contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement savings plans?
  • Will you need additional retirement resources such as an IRA or annuity?
  • Did you create a savings plan to accumulate the down payment needed to finance a home purchase?
  • Have you identified other financial goals that might need a sustained savings program, such as starting a business or acquiring a second home?

Start your marriage off on the right foot and budget for your wedding

  • Determine how much you want to spend for the ceremony and celebration
  • Decide who you want to invite to your wedding and to participate in the wedding party
  • Identify potential locations and costs for the celebration

Budget your honeymoon

  • Determine how much you want to spend for your honeymoon
  • Decide how much time you want to spend on your trip
  • Consider all cost factors of the trip itself, including transportation, lodging and meals

Once married, you'll need to review and update all of your accounts

  • Send changes of address to all companies that bill you regularly
  • Update bank account and safety deposit box agreements
  • Update retirement plan beneficiary declarations
  • Update insurance policy beneficiary declarations
  • Add your new spouse (and if applicable, new dependents) to leases
  • Add your spouse to emergency contact listings
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The material was authored by a third party, DST Retirement Solutions, LLC, an SS&C company ("SS&C"), not affiliated with Merrill or any of its affiliates and is for information and educational purposes only. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Merrill or any of its affiliates. Any assumptions, opinions and estimates are as of the date of this material and are subject to change without notice. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The information contained in this material does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security, financial instrument, or strategy. Before acting on any recommendation in this material, you should consider whether it is in your best interest based on your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice.

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