Planning for Marriage: Financial Tips

Posted by Busey Bank on Mar 12, 2024 10:45:00 AM
Busey Bank

As you plan for marriage, there are several important financial aspects you should discuss with your soon-to-be spouse outside of the actual wedding costs. Communication and careful planning can increase your likelihood of financial success with a mutual understanding of your plans and goals for the future.

A younger man and woman sit on the floor in front of a couch, looking at a piece of paper and a laptop. The man is wearing glasses.

Discuss your financial history

Marriage is the union of two separate individuals—and their finances. While talking about money can be a stressful topic for many couples, you'll want to sit down and discuss your financial history and your future spouse's financial history before you merge your money.

Start by taking stock of each of your respective financial situations. You should each create Personal Financial Statements (PFS), including all assets (e.g., investments, real estate) and liabilities (e.g., student loans, credit card debt) you may have. This should include how much each of you earns and if either of you has additional sources of income (e.g., interest, dividends).

In certain instances, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement, especially if either of you have or may inherit substantial assets, or if either of you has children from a previous relationship.

Create a budgeting system

Right now, you are probably accustomed to managing your finances in a way that is comfortable for you and you alone, but that likely will change with marriage.

Either of you can agree to be in charge of managing the budget, or you can take turns keeping records and paying the bills. No matter who is taking care of the monthly bills, make sure that you develop a record-keeping system that both of you understand and agree upon. In addition, you'll want to keep your records in a system so you both can easily locate important documents.

This may also be the time, at least initially, to decide whether you will combine your financial accounts or keep them separate. If you decide to keep separate accounts, consider at least opening a joint checking account to pay for household expenses.

Map out your financial future together

An important part of financial planning as a couple is to map out goals for your financial future. This can range from where to live, who might stay home with children, to when do you want to retire.

Together you should make a list of short-term financial goals (e.g., paying off debt, establishing an emergency fund) and long-term financial goals (e.g., big ticket purchases, retirement). Once you have decided on your financial goals, you can prioritize them by determining which ones are most important to each of you. After you've identified which goals are a priority, you can set your sights on working to achieve them together.

Resolve any outstanding financial issues

Having good credit is an important part of any sound financial plan. You'll want to identify any potential credit and/or debt problems either of you may have and try to resolve them now rather than later. You should each review your credit reports together.

For the most part, you are not responsible for your future spouse's past credit problems, but they can prevent you from getting credit as a couple. Even if you've always had spotless credit, you may be turned down for credit cards or loans that you apply for together if your future spouse has a bad track record with creditors.

As a result, if you find that either one of you does have credit issues, you might want to consider keeping your credit separate until the problematic credit record improves.

Consider integrating employee and retirement benefits

If you and your future spouse each have employer provided health insurance coverage, you'll want to do a cost-benefit analysis. Make sure you take into account not only the cost, but the deductibles, access to your preferred providers and existing chronic health conditions.

In addition, if both you and your future spouse participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you should be aware of each plan's characteristics. Plans may differ as to matching contributions, investment options, and loan provisions. Review each plan together carefully to understand vesting, company match and other features. It is important you both build assets in your own plan. Reviewing primary and contingent beneficiaries is another key consideration. Who should receive the funds in your plan is important for you as a potential survivor for your estate planning.

Assess your insurance coverage needs

While you might not have felt the need for life and disability insurance when you were single, once you are married you have someone else to consider. If you don't have life or disability insurance, this is the time to assess what happens if you should die prematurely or become disabled. If you already have life and disability insurance, you should reevaluate the adequacy of your existing coverage and be sure to update any beneficiary designations as well.

You should also review your auto and renters/homeowners insurance policies, to ensure items are properly covered. You may have more to insure when melding two households and need additional riders.

Planning for your financial future as a couple can be overwhelming. Financial professionals like those with Busey Wealth Management are here to help you. To learn more about our holistic services, visit


This is not intended to provide legal, tax or accounting advice. Any statement contained in this communication concerning U.S. tax matters is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties imposed on the relevant taxpayer. Clients should obtain their own independent tax advice based on their particular circumstances.

This material is provided for educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities.

This presentation is for general information purposes only. It does not take into account the particular investment objectives, restrictions, tax and financial situation or other needs of any specific client.

Investment products and services through Busey Wealth Management are:
Not FDIC INSURED | May lose value | No bank guarantee

Topics: Wealth

Join the online Busey community and leave a comment below!

Busey Bank knows Your Money Matters

Money Matters, a financial blog designed to provide insights, resources and tips from the financial experts at Busey, covers a variety of topics to help you realize your financial goals. Topics are focused on Busey's five lines of business—personal, mortgage, commercial, cash management and wealth management. 

New content is added regularly to deliver up-to-date information in today's evolving financial landscape. We encourage you to subscribe to Money Matters to ensure you don't miss helpful tips and how to's as they become available.

Subscribe Here!

Recent Posts