You have been dating for a while, he is the love of your life, so when he kneeled and asked the question, you said YES. Now What???
Some time ago I was a presenter on a women’s conference at a large multifamily office. Multifamily offices usually have clients with assets over US$ 25 million. We were talking about the basic finances every woman should know, specifically about budgeting.
One girl in her mid twenties raised her hand : “I follow a budget, but I am getting married now, should I consider the wedding expenses in my current budget, it will be impossible to do it!!”
Even women who belong to families of wealth have the same questions as an average income woman. Having money doesn’t mean you know how to manage it.
In the case of this lady, we explained to her that a wedding is an “extraordinary event” that should have its own budget. And this applies for any wedding, a very simple one to the one with a Lady Gaga performance.
Now there are tools to help you create a wedding budget, for example: Wedding budget
As with any expense you have to be decide how much you can afford to spend on the wedding. -put a number and don’t go beyond it- You have to do it with enough time so you can be able to save from your “discretionary income” and meet your goal. Read our post Shoes and discretionary income. http://myfinancebliss.com/shoes-and-discretionary-spending/Try to be able to cover all your expenses as starting a new life is not easy, even less if you start with a huge debt.
However, there are other facts to consider when you get married:
How are you going to keep your finances; are you going to have separate accounts?, A joint account? Or both? If you have separate accounts, which of you will take care of which expenses. What about the budget, do you have a combined budget?
Are you going to sign a prenuptial agreement? If you don’t have money and your spouse does most probably he will ask you for one. Don’t take it personally, is better if you do it before the wedding. Just get a good attorney to review it.
If you are the one with means and your spouse makes less than you, sign a prenuptial, you will not regret it. Hire a good attorney and your spouse should get his own attorney too. Both of you must not be represented by the same attorney. You can read more about prenuptial agreements in our post “Will you still love me…”http://myfinancebliss.com/will-you-still-love-me/
Are you going to buy a house? How much can you afford to pay for a mortgage? Under whose name is the property title? Who is giving the down payment, which of you is paying the mortgage, which of you is paying the monthly expenses? Are you paying everything in equal parts?
Are you going to rent? Under whose name is the rental agreement? The one in the rental agreement is the one who is responsible for the property so you have to consider it.
Are you going to have children? When? Are you going to leave you job to take care of your children? Will this imply you will have to leave your personal income? How are you going to be compensated for this? Yes, being a mummy is amazing, but your time is valuable and even though I can sound like a bad witch believe me, is good to talk about this stuff before you get married, or at least before you have a baby.
Do you have a will? What happens if an unexpected event happens to any of you? Maybe your spouse before meeting you made a will and is leaving everything to his dog. Be sure to get an updated will, I really love dogs….
Do you have a living power of attorney granted to your spouse? Or you prefer your parents to take a decision in case you cannot take it, or a best friend…
If you have kids, who will take care of them if something happens to both of you. How do you want your kids to be raised, who will be in charge of making sure your kids are being raised the way you wanted them to be.
You can read more about all these issues in our post “When the unexpected happens”
Are you going to have a Trust? It is important for estate taxes and for estate planning. You don’t know what a trust is, easy, go to our post “To Trust or not to Trust”
Changes are not easy but are inevitable. You cannot avoid a divorce, an accident, a loss of income, but you can prevent the worst result.
I know, you are in love, you just want to think about the honeymoon. And after the honeymoon what happens? Life happens. So just try to make the best out of it.
Interested in knowing more about personal finances, what about financial coaching? Check our Finlearning page, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org