In Anticipation of Wedding Season, Important Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have

By Steven DeMatteo, Financial Advisor and Certified Exit Planning Advisor at UBS Wealth Management USA
 
 
With many couples getting engaged at the holidays and on Valentine’s Day, can wedding season be far away? June, September and October are the most popular months to get married in Southern California. But before the events are planned and the honeymoon is over, it’s time for many to take an important first step … talking about money.
 
Yet, only about 20% of couples tend to make long-term financial decisions together and 51% of millennial women indicated they defer to their spouses on finances, according to a UBS report. This is despite findings that, of men who take the lead financially, nine in 10 wish their spouse were more involved in long-term financial decisions. 
 
Following are three conversations every couple should have to get on the same page financially:
 

1. The mechanics: It’s important for a couple to agree on how they will manage their assets. Important questions include: How will you organize your income and expenses? Will you combine your accounts or still handle some separately? How will you make investment decisions? 
 
2. Money language: Two people can each be smart with money but have different attitudes about it. Perhaps you like to spend or invest, whereas your spouse is a hardcore saver in banks. You don't have to agree on every point, but it is vital to be aware of one another's “money language” and to agree on which budgeting decisions you will make together.

3. Goals: Make sure you are on the same page when it comes to what you and your partner want from life, and how to spend combined money. When do you want to buy a home? How much can we afford to spend? What are our monthly expenses? Do you want expensive cars or utilitarian ones? Do you dream of traveling in retirement or working until you're 80?   
 
When it comes to practical to-do items, consider these four steps:
 
1. Review insurance: Consider health, home and auto insurance. Crunch the numbers on whether it's worth it to have one spouse carry health insurance for both. You don't have to wait for open enrollment to add your new spouse to a policy; however, don't wait too long after your wedding, as many plans have a small window for when this can occur.
 
You might also be able to bundle home and auto to save. Finally, consider getting supplemental life insurance, if either of you would struggle financially if your partner were no longer alive or able to work.
 
2. Confirm retirement account beneficiaries: If you have a parent, sibling, or children listed, be aware that some retirement plans automatically update with marriage and default to the spouse. If it’s a second marriage, check to make sure the first spouse is not still the beneficiary. 

3. Update your will: If you have a will, it should be updated with any major life change. 

4. Visit a financial advisor together: He or she can provide advice or frame and mediate money conversations. Find one you both like and trust and see them regularly. Consider it your gift to each other! 
 
 
 
Steven DeMatteo is a Financial Advisor with Torrey Pines Wealth Management, a Signature team at UBS Wealth Management USA. Together with his team, Steven draws on broad experience in the wealth management industry to help clients exit their companies, develop retirement plans, and preserve wealth for future generations. He has earned the Wealth Advisor and Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) designations; was recently recognized by Forbes Magazine as a Best-In-State Wealth Advisor; is a member of the UBS President's Council, recognizing the firm's top advisors, and is a recipient of the UBS Aspire Award for leadership, collaboration and service. He is also a retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot where he was decorated for performance in peacetime, humanitarian and combat operations. He can be reached at steven.dematteo@ubs.com