As any bride knows, a lot of planning is required prior to tying the knot. Planning a wedding requires checklist-after-checklist, and once the big day arrives and you’ve popped the cork on the last bottle of bubbly, it can be tempting to feel as though your work is done. But there are still some important items you need to check off of your list prior to settling into a life of wedded bliss.
While the following steps may not be as thrilling as cake tastings and dress fittings, they’re imperative to ensuring you begin your joint financial future off on the right foot:
- Make any necessary name changes. There are a lot of people to notify in the event one (or both) of you are changing your last name. Your name will need to be updated everywhere! Think: Driver’s license, bank accounts, at work, tax documents, memberships, subscriptions, passport – you get the idea! There are kits available that help with the process by offering all necessary forms and checklists, or you can save the money and do it yourself. Whichever way you choose, just make sure you are comprehensive and thorough in changing your name in order to avoid confusion in the future!
- Review your health insurance policies. This is an area where you may find the potential to save money. If you and your spouse both have health insurance through work, you can save by adding your spouse to your plan, or vice versa. Make sure you review each plan thoroughly to determine the most cost-effective option.
- Look for ways to save by combining other accounts. You may save money by adding your spouse to your auto insurance policy. You can do the same thing with your cell phone account. Look into family plan options rather than maintaining separate contracts.
- Add your spouse as a beneficiary. If you have a retirement accounts, bonds, life insurance policies, or any other account you are keeping separate, you will likely want to name your spouse as the primary beneficiary.
- Make tax-time decisions now. You will need to decide if you will file taxes jointly. Many times, married couple can save money by filing a joint tax return. You may want to meet with a financial advisor to discover the strategy that will be most beneficial for both of you.
This is an updated version of an article that originally ran in 2012.