After getting married, it’s a good idea to get ahead of those financial to-dos. Thinking about how to build your financial life together now, could make your married life much easier tomorrow.
1. The joint bank account
Like many couples, you might have already combined your finances before getting married. But for those who haven’t, creating a joint bank account is often the first step you’ll want to take.
A couples’ savings account is a simple way to manage your spending as a team. But it’s important to do your research and establish a few rules about how you’re going to use it.
ASIC’s MoneySmart, opens in new window has some interesting case studies about the risks and benefits of setting up joint finances after getting married in Australia. Echoing their advice, we agree that it’s a good idea only if you trust your partner. But given that you’re married, we’re assuming this is a safe bet.
It’s important to talk about how you’ll manage the account from the start. Knowing how much you both need to contribute, and how often, can help you avoid awkward money conversations or big bill shocks.
If you need some assistance or have questions, there are experts who can help with financial planning for married couples.
2. Paying wedding expenses
If you managed to stick to your wedding budget and were on top of your honeymoon planning, you should be able to pay for your wedding expenses without too much trouble. However, there might have been last minute changes or unexpected costs.
If you can’t afford to pay it all at once, it’s best to make a budgeting plan to get on top of it. This might include using your credit card or taking out a personal loan – although you’ll want to figure out a repayment plan before doing this.
3. Going over your gifts
It mightn't be at the top of your to do list, but collecting, inspecting, insuring and banking your gifts is an important post-wedding step.
Sometimes gifts can get broken, or alterations and refunds need to be made. It’s important to make time to figure all this out.
If you opted for a wishing well or donations registry, ensure the money is banked safely. If you’ve set up a separate savings account to fund your honeymoon, you could even deposit the money straight into this.
Finally, insuring the more expensive items is a smart move. Just review your home and contents insurance if you’re not sure what will be covered.
4. Changing your name and accounts
Changing or updating your details is part of making married life a little more seamless. And the sooner you do this, the easier life will be.
If you’re changing your name, you’ll need to contact your state’s Births, Deaths and Marriages Office. They’ll update you in the system, which will make it easier to get your driver’s licence and other IDs reissued.
Be sure to update your home utilities, health and life insurance, and banking details too. You can often make the changes through internet banking, or simply getting in touch with NAB and other providers.
You can also read our article on making credit card account changes.
5. Your superannuation
With a significant other to think about, superannuation is even more important. You should look into updating your beneficiaries or insurance in your current super fund, and deciding whether to have joint or separate accounts.
If you’ve got some knowledge of financial and legal matters, it may be worth thinking about creating a joint self-managed super fund (SMSF). This can give you greater control over managing your retirement savings together.
As always, it’s worth seeking financial advice about how often (and how much) you want to contribute, as this will be different for every couple.
ASIC’s MoneySmart website, opens in new window is an excellent resource for all things superannuation, including the benefits of SMSF funds, while the ATO, opens in new window has all the details on setting them up.
6. Setting up a savings plan
With the wedding behind you, it’s time to think about a savings plan for the future.
Later down the track, knowing how to plan out your financial goals as a couple will help you hit those saving milestones.
7. You could start looking for your dream home
You’ve probably been thinking about this even before your wedding. With more time on your hands, now can be a good time to start the home search.
To make the process easier, you should understand the finances first. The main things to consider are applying for conditional approval, reviewing your home and contents insurance, and looking into mortgage insurance.
For more information, we’ve got plenty of practical tips on buying your first home.
Apply online for a wedding loan or check our personal loan repayment calculators to help you plan.
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The information contained in this article is correct as of July 2018 and is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.