Checklist for Newlyweds

Q.1. What financial issues should we consider when we get married or become involved in a common-law relationship?

Getting married typically involves managing two careers, two incomes and a joint sharing of expenses. It also involves joint planning and an agreement on money management strategies. A willingness to cooperate is important because financial matters are a major reason for marriage breakdowns. Strategies for managing finances in a marriage are relatively simple but require planning.

Q.2. How do we plan our financial future as a couple?

Planning your financial future together requires you to consider such things as: career goals; home ownership; family planning; insuring your assets and developing an estate plan.

Q.3. Should we put our money together or keep it separate?

There is no one answer for this as there are a number of factors that affect this decision. Sharing a bank account is a decision best made by the individual couple. Realize, however, that even if you keep your finances separate, in legal terms you share everything. This also applies in common-law situations.

Q.4. Should we develop an estate plan?

If you have not established a will, you may not provide as you would have liked for your surviving family members, because government agencies will decide how your wealth will be distributed. Estate planning will ensure that your loved ones will be protected and that your assets will be distributed as per your wishes with minimal problems and taxes. It involves making a will, identifying beneficiaries and dividing assets.