Last year Tom Harris got married. Amongst all the planning and celebrations, he was determined not to be a financial planning adviser without a financial plan, like a plumber with a leaky tap. Here’s Tom’s checklist of issues to consider.
GETTING MARRIED FINANCIAL CHECKLIST
- Budget for the wedding
- Review private health insurance
- Review banking/savings/budget arrangements
- Update wills
- Consider a Binding Financial Agreement
- Review personal insurances
- Changing your name
- Register for Medicare Safety Net
- Get a family doctor
Considering these steps will get your financial future off to a good start:
- Budget for the wedding – It will cost more than you first think – the small costs really add up. Do an excel spreadsheet with all expected costs – you will be amazed at the total. Do this early as it will help shape your wedding plans.
- Private health – Do you have it, do you need it, do you wish to combine policies? If you earn over $180,000 as a couple it may be cheaper to pay for private health than the government Medicare Surcharge. If you are planning to have children as a private patient you need to have a policy including pregnancy 12 months prior to the birth – this catches a few people.
- Banking/budgeting – Have the conversation about how you wish to run your finances. Do you wish to bank separately, together, a bit of both? How do you wish to budget, save, pay a mortgage, invest, pay the bills and spend? Having a plan that works for you is important for your finances and your happiness.
- Wills – Marriage will void an existing will so update your wills post wedding. Whilst we think ‘I’m young and it won’t happen to me’, it’s best to have a will as it’s a nightmare for those surviving a loved one if there is no valid will. A specialist estate planning lawyer is required if you have complex affairs. A will kit from the newsagent is better than nothing if your situation is simple and you understand the requirements. Also consider implementing Powers of Attorney.
- Consider a Binding Financial Agreement (aka a pre-nuptial agreement) – This isn’t relevant for many couples, but is important to others especially if your situations entering the marriage are different due to children, previous relationships or financial position.
- Personal insurances – Most young singles don’t have life, disability, income protection or trauma insurance. Time to review. You now have a partner to support and you may soon have children too.
- Are you changing your name? – If so it’s best to change everything at the same time, this will be cleaner and easier as there are a lot of institutions to notify.
- Medicare Safety Net – to register contact the Department of Human Services— Medicare by calling 132 011. Registering as a family allows eligible out-of-pocket costs for each individual family member to count toward the family’s Medicare Safety Net threshold.
- Family doctor – It’s advisable to get one – your health is important.
Tom Harris is a Melbourne based Financial Adviser. He manages a team providing investment advice, tax strategy, personal insurance and home lending.