By: Richard Hitchcock CFP®
Our earliest memories probably contain some reference to money, how to handle it and some basic ideas on spending. We get these memories from watching our parents live their lives. Subconsciously we pick up clues of which we may not be aware. That’s why it’s important for couples planning to get married to have a meeting with a financial professional.
Prior to getting married, individuals may have already accumulated assets, in many instances because they marry later in life and due to the reality that many marriages come after a previous divorce. The “money scripts” that they have developed may have already set a pattern for things such as incurring debt, paying bills and saving for the future. Engaging a financial planner can help with these as well as determining whether assets be pooled or kept separate and will joint accounts be used for bill paying.
Financial planners today often find themselves in the role of counselor, both to those retiring and those just beginning their journey. Sometimes it’s hard to make concrete financial decisions because of emotions which underlie the process. The stress that comes with financial decisions can strain the relationship, especially when one partner has different ideas or tries to exercise monetary control. The financial planner becomes a financial psychologist—guiding the conversations to create satisfactory joint decisions.
As with other areas of marriage, planning, openness and honesty are imperative in order for true feelings to surface. Goal setting is dependent on good objective discussions. Buying a house together or combining two living spaces into one is one of many difficult scenarios which must be addressed. The planner can walk the couple through various scenarios to consider how spending habits might help a successful outcome.
Couples may have never lived with a financial budget and, even if they did, they need to develop a joint budget. Surprisingly, many couples have discussed a variety of things without broaching the subject of financial budgeting. Financial planners who do premarital financial planning may find that couples haven’t talked about financial issues at all. Sometimes they have no idea how much the other person spends or how much credit card debt he or she is carrying and are often surprised when the information comes out during discussions.
Other financial issues are also important, such as life insurance. For most young couples, life insurance needs to be part of their thinking and usually is relatively inexpensive. Retirement planning is another discussion couples often delay since it isn’t an immediate concern. But financial planning can sometimes show how a small periodic contribution can be projected into a significant asset for retirement.
So, while planning the wedding, the reception and the honeymoon, consider planning for a financial advisor. In many ways it might reduce the stress and help create the foundation for a wonderful marriage.
About Hitchcock Maddox Financial Partners (HMFP):
HMFP is a comprehensive and collaborative financial planning firm headquartered in Trussville, AL, serving clients and their community since 1999. Collectively, HMFP advisors have provided guidance in the areas of Financial Planning, Investing, Retirement and Insurance for over 35 years. For more information please visit www.hmfp.us or call 205-201-1401.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Hitchcock Maddox Financial Partners, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.