The lovely, vivacious, and driven Dian Chaaban of RBC Dominion Securities Inc was kind enough to share some financial planning advice for couples. Thank you to Dian for taking the time to contribute, and for writing about a subject that affects so many of us!
If you’re in the process of planning your wedding you’ve likely got lots on your mind, from finding the perfect venue to choosing invitations; from finding the perfect dress to deciding who makes the guest list. Or if you’re like me, you’ve hired a super star wedding planner so that you only need to worry about showing up. No matter how you do it, be sure not to overlook your finances.
Couples often get so bogged down in the minor details surrounding their wedding that they tend to put aside decisions about their finances. Money has become a subject couples tend to avoid, but addressing it head-on can help you and your spouse to get on the same page, so that you can reach your financial goals together – happily, till death due you part.
Here are some tips to ensure future financial bliss for you and your spouse:
Discuss Your Financial Goals
It is important that couples are on the same page and are working towards the same goals. Do you want to save for a home? Do you plan on having kids? Are vacations important to you? When do you want to retire? In addition to discussing your financial goals, you should discuss your spending habits and attitudes towards money. If there are major differences, determine how they will be resolved – before you get married. It can also be helpful to develop a budget together as a couple, which can help you assess where your money is going, spot any problem areas, and keep you on track to achieving your long-term goals.
Single or Joint Accounts?
Couples often have trouble deciding whether they should pool their money together or keep separate accounts. Joint accounts will prove handy for taking care of shared expenses, like the rent or mortgage, even just the groceries. Even so, many experts recommend that each spouse maintain a separate account in his or her own name to have their own spending money and maintain some independence.
Sharing the Plastic
Some experts don’t recommend that couples share credit cards, however, it is often more practical to track expenses on one card. Having separate credit cards, in addition to a joint one, enables both partners to continue to maintain their independent credit rating.
Marriage Contracts (ahem, Prenups)
With so many individuals getting married at a later stage in their professional lives, many couples come into the marriage as more established individuals with a larger asset base that they may wish to protect. While negotiating a prenup can be trying, it can also be an opportunity for couples to examine how they expect to manage their financial affairs, to make appropriate financial plans, and to ensure that they are on the same page. It can also save future heartache – looking at the realistic odds, the divorce rate in Canada is approximately 41% before the 30th year of marriage.
The Golden Years
Each spouse should consider a strategy to build up their registered retirement portfolio. Ultimately you will be sharing in the retirement income that you both accumulate, so it is important that you both take the time to discuss how you wish to approach this and take advantage of any tax advantages or income-splitting opportunities along the way.
Planning for the Unexpected
Emotions aside, as soon as you become married, it financially matters to your spouse if you die. Everyone who enjoys good health hopes it will last for a lifetime – but sometimes life throws you a curveball. While insurance can’t prevent that from happening, it can help you cope and plan for the unexpected. It is important that you analyze your situation and answer questions such as: How much insurance do I need? If I had died yesterday, would I have left sufficient assets to provide for my family? Which family members or business partners should be insured? What type of life insurance is best for my needs?
The Real Secret: Communication
If couples discuss these issues before getting married and take the time to regularly communicate about money, it can save them many headaches in the long run. As the Greek Philosopher Socrates once said, “By all means marry. If you get a good [spouse], you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. ”
This article is supplied by Dian Chaaban, an Investment Advisor with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Member CIPF.
This information is not investment advice and should be used only in conjunction with a discussion with your RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Investment Advisor. This will ensure that your own circumstances have been considered properly and that action is taken on the latest available information. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time obtained but neither RBC Dominion Securities Inc. nor its employees, agents, or information suppliers can guarantee its accuracy or completeness. This report is not and under no circumstances is to be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities. This report is furnished on the basis and understanding that neither RBC Dominion Securities Inc. nor its employees, agents, or information suppliers is to be under any responsibility or liability whatsoever in respect thereof. The inventories of RBC Dominion Securities Inc. may from time to time include securities mentioned herein. RBC Dominion Securities Inc.* and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. *Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Insurance products are offered through RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc., a subsidiary of RBC Dominion Securities Inc. When providing life insurance products in all provinces except Quebec, Investment Advisors are acting as Insurance Representatives of RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. In Quebec, Investment Advisors are acting as Financial Security Advisors of RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc.