Getting married is the most important decision of your life. You’re joining two people, two families, and two futures for the road ahead. For many couples, you’re also joining two incomes, two assets, two liabilities, and two financial plans.
Ideally, each of you created a financial plan before getting married. Then you discussed it in depth to make sure you shared the same financial dreams. But likely you didn’t…
Your financial plan will help you understand how to achieve your goals together and what financial improvements need to be made, so getting engaged is a good time to start the process.
Financial planning is actually going to be easier than it sounds. In order to make this transition as simple as possible, financial planning begins with defining each of your goals, individually and combined. Make a list of where you’d like to live, if you’d like to have children and when, your career aspirations, and other big picture lifestyle goals.
Next, talk about past experiences with money, feelings towards certain investments, what level of risk you can be comfortable with and how you picture retirement down the road. Write down the important points you have in common, but also what’s different.
The final part is about gathering the numbers, including statements for bank accounts, insurance policies, trusts, investments, plus any rainy day funds. Collect other important documents like historical tax returns, powers of attorney, wills, and related estate plans.
If you’re up for it, you now have all the necessary information to build your financial plan. If you’re too busy planning the wedding (or not so mathematically inclined!) bring this info to your Investment Advisor, who can help you figure it out.
Open communication and a clear plan will help make your marriage stronger, and ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
Ben Kizemchuk is a Portfolio Manager & Investment Advisor with Altus Securities Inc. in Toronto. He offers financial planning and investment management for high net worth Canadian investors. Ben focuses on high quality investments, the Growth and Income Portfolios, low risk investing, and reducing tax.