What married couples need in their life is not what you might think.
When we think of marriage, the obvious comes up: weddings, engagement rings, vows, fancy embroidered hats. The list is endless when thinking about the day of a marriage: the wedding. It is the most beautiful and joyous occasion a couple can have, besides expanding a family and welcoming a child. However, after the wedding is over, a marriage is something more now — it’s the beginning of a family.
It’s important to plan ahead of time if you’re a couple that’s looking at marriage soon. These 10 often overlooked aspects of married life can bring you distress, and possibly ruin a marriage if they are taken care of soon. But, not to worry! With marriage comes the beauty of raising a family, sharing ideas, sharing a home, and sharing life. If couples can learn to handle the business matters of living together first, it can lead to greater weapons in your marriage arsenal, such as increased savings, increased budgeting skills, and better opportunities for homebuying.
1. A family law attorney
One of the most common threats to a marriage that can result in immediate divorce or an annulment is the possibility of signing a prenuptial agreement, or pre-nup as it is usually called, in order to better protect one’s assets during the case of a divorce. A family law attorney can prove useful, before marriage even begins, in trying to put aside conditions for a marriage that relate to financial matters. It is oftentimes better to look into family lawyers if a large sum of money, and inherited house, a will, a trust, or any time of income is to come into contact to one party of the marriage, so as to not cause confusion or possible distress among other members of the couple’s family.
With marriage, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that one will spend the rest of their lives with their partner, and so marriage often times overlook the important aspect of agreements before marriage. Unfortunately, problems can arise within a marriage sooner rather than later, and due to a difference in state laws, not all situations, such as adultery or abuse, will lead to sure outcomes during a divorce proceeding. As a new couple, consider sitting down with a lawyer first to examine, learn about, and start your new marriage together.
2. A Look into each other’s credit
Related to family law and finances, credit scores of your partner are also an essential piece of knowledge to have before or after tying the not. Marriage brings with it a change in loan applications, and often times the goal of a married couple is to buy a home for their new family. Unfortunately, this is oftentimes easier said, or imagined, than actually done.
Due to the rising amount of student loan debt, credit card debt, lower-paying jobs and living wages, marriage brings you not only ever lasting love, but an even longer-lasting low credit score if one isn’t careful in managing their debt. Do not end up in a marriage where you cannot escape from in terms of financial success! Make sure to talk to your new husband, wife, or partner about the amount of loans in their name, possible unpaid bills, including unemployment or medical bills, and any other issues that might sneak up and ruin both your credit scores. As well as this, make sure you are both financially educated enough to know how to manage a home loan when the time comes.
Even if one of your partners has a bad credit score, debt consolidation, working together and combining incomes to pay off debt, and possible personal loans from family are all better options that jumping on to co-signing onto a new debt that could prove disastrous for the marriage.
3. A predetermined wedding budget
Though we’ve been discussing the do’s of marriage before the wedding, the wedding itself is something that should be taken into consideration. The average cost of wedding dress is $1,000, showing just how expensive and out of hand a wedding can actually get. Because of this, as a soon to be married couple, it’s essential to hash out a budget for your wedding and stick to it, in order to avoid fights, stress, and anger on your very first day of marriage.
4. A new insurance plan for your vehicles
We get it. Your new partner might like and want to keep his or her car from their teenage, single years. These sports cars, combined with prior accidents and sometimes arrests, can make the rate of insurance for a married couple skyrocket. In fact, as of 2013, the average American household spends $1,157 on car insurance each year, a huge chunk of income that could be used to invest, home improvement, anything but car insurance. Sadly, this is a reality for many households, and so finding an insurance plan that can provide a family discount or have accident forgiveness is essential in keeping this insurance number low.
In addition, after marriage is surely to come an expanded family. When shopping for insurance, in addition to asking for family discounts, make sure to keep in mind how your plan will be able to accommodate for future teenage drivers, teenage wrecks, and fender benders that are almost unavoidable. It’s never too early to start planning for the inevitable future…and save money.
5. A savings for home remodeling or repairs
As mentioned, for most married couples, home buying will most certainly be on the table for discussion, and a huge goal once debts are settled and cars are paid off. However, one of the most overlooked prices when home buying isn’t just the HOA fees, or the property taxes, but possible home repairs that will be needed to remodel a home.
Many times, buying a home, realtors will want to sell you the dream home, and this could easily turn into a married couple overlooking huge flaws in a home. Possible costs include having to redo plumbing, redoing wiring, and even redoing the entire foundation of a house in the worst of cases! It’s important not only to keep the most significant questions in mind, such as when the home was last repaired and looking at a list of those repairs, but also having a savings account beforehand in case anything were to come up in the process of buying or afterward.
If the home turns out to have no issues, and your marriage is treating you financially well, a savings account for home repairs could also partially be used for home improvement! You might not have enough to splurge on ice carving, but you could have enough to redo certain rooms in the home and add on to the home value sooner.
6. Time and money to make your house a home
In a marriage, it’s essential to keep stress to a minimum, and keep decisions made together to a maximum. We’ve already discussed home buying, credit scores, insurance, and having the money to ensure that a home is structurally sound before and after buying. However, the stressful event of moving into a new home could prove to be a bump in the road for a newly wed’s marriage.
Thus, it’s essential to save up money for not just the big home improvement projects, but the smaller ones such as decorating your kitchen, setting up the dining room table, even working on special pool maintenance to entertain future guests into your home. Whatever the case may be, saving money and time to set aside in order to smooth the moving in process is essential in a marriage.
7. Have a vision board for your home
Like bringing home a baby, starting a new job, switching schools, and so on, moving on to a new home should be a smooth of a transition as possible. A good idea as a married couple, is to have a dream board of your home, set up and have a blueprint of the home floor plan before moving in, and stick to it as much as you can in order to not step on each other’s toes.
The benefits of setting up a blueprint and home plan before moving in is simple: privacy and space. In a marriage, there has to be certain boundaries and respect that must also be followed. As an adult, buying a home together is much more than buying more space for a family. The home you buy will also be your own room, your office space, your kitchen, your bathroom, your garden, your garage, the list goes on! Maybe he wants a large meeting room? Maybe she wants seashells for landscaping and you both want an outdoor kitchen patio and are sure of it.
As a married couple, it is essential to set up beforehand the blueprint that you will stick to in order to ensure privacy, relaxation, and even together time. Though it might seem a bit overkill, you won’t regret it.
8. Have a vision board for your future goals
Finally, in a marriage, two characters in life will meet and merge, hopefully forever. It’s important to set up a vision board beforehand for how a couple will integrate their future goals and aspirations together. Want to go back to school? Put it on the vision board. Want to save more money? Put it on the vision board. Want to spend vacations overseas and not back home? Vision board. Laying things out beforehand will keep the marriage honest, fresh, and invigorating.
9. A shared banking account
As a married couple, it’s essential to be able to trust each other with finances after all other steps and precautions have been taking. With a shared banking account, budgeting, automatic bill payments, and other financial responsibilities can be handled more easily. As well, when it comes to tax season, it will be a good idea to keep track of the couple’s finances and shared payments, such as home mortgages, school loans, and child care. Because of the added tax burden, it’s essential to take the easiest possible route when filing and finally getting together all your financial documents. Because of this, a shared banking account is a great option to add to a financially stable marriage. Be advised, however, this will only work if both parties are in line and financially responsible. If not, a shared bank account can prove disastrous and possible financially ruin the other party.
10. Life insurance policies
The benefits of a life insurance policy are overwhelming, though hard to think of when one is newly married. In a marriage, we expect for our partner to live on forever, to avoid the unavoidable death, and to have life be accident-free. Sadly, this is not the case for some very unlucky couples. During the marriage, if you already have a life insurance policy in place, be sure to double-check who the beneficiary of the policy would be. Many times, our beneficiaries are our parents, our siblings, old flings that we have lost touch with, but should the case of an emergency arise would be entitled to much-needed life insurance payouts. This has unfortunately happened before, and there is little one can do should it become a real issue.
Before and after your marriage, always double-check the beneficiary of your life insurance policies, and make sure to arrange with your partner other emergency funds, emergency contacts, or any other miscellaneous arrangements that should be made in the case of an emergency.
Marriage is still worth it
You have your vision board, your home blueprint, you’ve crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s, and now you can be sure that your marriage will remain as open, financially and emotionally stable as possible. Many times, couples can be blinded by the dazzle of weddings and be blind to the essential responsibilities that every couple needs. Take the steps to make your marriage successful, and make your marriage last.