Congratulations on your big day! The early days of wedded bliss are full of exciting changes and adjustments. Among the most important: Planning for your joint financial future. Say “I do” to these steps toward building a solid fiscal partnership:
Update financial paperwork.
Add your spouse as the beneficiary on any insurance policies and financial accounts, such as 401(k)s. Consider designating your spouse as your power of attorney and health care proxy, so he or she can make decisions about your finances and care in the event you’re unable to make decisions for yourself. If you haven’t created a will, now is the time to get started.
Talk about your goals.
Together, discuss your values and financial history and how they’ve shaped your attitudes toward money. When you understand where your partner is coming from, it’s easier to strategize on future plans. Talk about what you hope to achieve this year, in five years, 10 years and so on.
Establish a budget.
Start by looking at your income and spending habits — from fixed costs like housing and car payments to variable expenses like groceries, utilities and entertainment. If you aren’t sure what you’re spending in certain categories, tracking your spending for a month or two can be an eye-opening experience. Create a budget to account for all of your financial obligations and savings goals. Some experts recommend aiming to save 20 percent of your income — 10 percent toward building an emergency fund of three to six months’ worth of expenses and 10 percent toward retirement. If you have debt or accelerated savings goals (like saving for a down payment in the next year or retiring early), you may need to adjust your saving percentages accordingly.
Create an investment plan.
Once you know your savings goals, you’ll need to determine where you’ll stash your cash. Explore your tolerance for risk — are you conservative savers who like guaranteed returns or aggressive investors who are comfortable with the volatility of the market? Your risk tolerance and time horizon can help define the investment vehicles you use. Most experts recommend low-risk federally insured accounts, like money market accounts or certificates of deposit (CDs), for short-term goals and higher-risk options that offer the potential for higher returns, like stocks or mutual funds, for long-term goals.
Schedule ongoing “state of the union” discussions.
Assess your budget, goal progress and any setbacks often. Have you received a raise or lost a source of income? Have your priorities or timelines changed? How do those changes affect your plans? Like other aspects of your marriage, maintaining open communication can help you stay the course together.
The experienced professionals at Navigator Credit Union can help you create a financial plan for your needs and goals. Call (228) 474-3427 to schedule an appointment today.
Not federally insured
Not a deposit of this institution
May lose value