A Little Advice From a CPA About Getting Married

Scribbled love and marriage symbols on metal cans

I know it’s not even Halloween just yet, there are a couple more weeks to go, but there are some of you who may be thinking about getting married next year. Perhaps even considering purchasing that engagement ring in time for Christmas or New Years? There is lots of advice about how much you should spend on the engagement ring, and on your wedding. Let me be the first to say that I understand how things can get carried away in the heat of the moment, but if there is anyway to plan ahead without creating undue stress, I would strongly advise it.

In most relationships, there is one partner who spends, and one partner who saves. Some of these partners go to extremes, and I want to let you know right now that you need to resolve these issues BEFORE you get married. One of the biggest causes for divorce is disagreements over how money is handled. The spenders make the savers crazy, and the savers who are also penny pinchers can make the lives of their spouses miserable. If it makes you stressed out NOW, before you’re married, it will not change once you have tied the knot.

If you are a in a relationship with someone who is your opposite, than you should first sit down and talk, not fight, about what each of you actually spends, how much debt you have, and what you earn. Keep in mind that once you are married, whether you are on each other’s accounts or not, some institutions will still consider you liable for your partner’s debt.

I know that some couples have arrangements where they divide up who pays what bills. Sometimes that works, but not always. ┬áThe optimal situation is when whatever each partner earns goes into a joint account and money is used for the household in it’s entirety. Some people don’t like that method either. In that case I have found that what really works best is when partners divide the bills, do a little pro-rating for differences in income, have a set budget for savings and retirement, and separate accounts for mad money. This ensures that money first goes to the joint expenses and bills get paid and no one feels like they are carrying more than their fair share.

When it comes to the cost and size of an engagement ring, boy, that’s a sensitive subject. If you spend so much on an engagement ring that you are still making payments on it 3 years after you’re married, that could be a very bad idea. I am surprised at how many more couples are opting for rings that symbolize their love, but don’t break the bank.

The same goes for the cost of your wedding. If you can pick a smaller venue, and get married at a time of year when prices are a little better, your budget is going to be lower. Weddings can be the event of your life, but they don’t have to break the bank to be memorable.

No tax talk today, just practical advice ..

See you next time

DiSalvo and Company



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