6 Ways Marriage Can Affect Your Financial Wellness
If you’re tying the knot and fretting over finances, wedding related or not, here’s some good news. According to a study at The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, participation and contribution rates for 401(k) accounts were higher for married couples as opposed to singles.
Does saying “I do” mean the dough comes rolling in? Probably not. Marriage won’t automatically make you rake in the cash, but it can affect your financial wellness, for richer or poorer. While you’re still thinking about place cards and rehearsal dinners, here are six ways marriage has the potential to change your finances.
One of the first financial speed bumps you might encounter as a married couple is tax season and the decision to file your taxes together. The IRS gives joint filers one of the largest standard deductions each year, which means you get to deduct a portion of your income immediately.
As a couple, you might qualify for more tax credits, which could mean a larger refund when it’s all said and done. Check with a tax professional to see what you qualify for.
There are a few instances where you might consider filing separately as a married couple. This might be due to a high volume of deductions, protection of refunds, or legal reasons. However, filing separately isn’t an excuse to withhold your financial status from your partner.
According to a 2018 survey by CreditCards.com , 15% of spouses admitted they weren’t always upfront about their finances with their significant other. Unfortunately, that kind of financial infidelity can cause issues down the line when it comes to big purchases like buying a home or saving enough for retirement.
Whether you decide to file jointly or not, it can be important for you and your spouse to discuss your finances regardless. You might decide to keep your books separately, but if you’re working towards similar savings and investing goals, you should consider opening your books to each other.
If the two of you change your mind regarding your joint or separate filing status, you do have a three year window from the due date to amend your filing.
Credit and Loans
When you tie the knot, your personal credit score won’t change. However, if you and your partner want to link your credit together in joint accounts, you can expect to see a change in your credit score. If you or your spouse have a poor credit history, it can impact both of your credit scores.
Just as your partner’s credit history has the potential to impact your credit score, you might be more likely to get approved with a joint loan. If you ascribe to the adage “what’s mine is yours,” then applying for home, auto, or personal loans as a duo could help you secure approval.
If you or your partner has a longer credit history, or if you’re combining two incomes, a joint loan application is likely stronger than applying for one on your own.
If you live in a state where community property rules apply, understand that merging your finances means taking on your partner’s debt. In these states, any debt incurred by one spouse after marriage is shouldered by both parties.
This doesn’t include credit card debt from before your wedding day, or student loan payments. However, if you or your partner rack up debt during marriage, both of you are responsible for paying the bill.
Simply combining your finances and assets can lead to some financial benefits. Couples tend to pay less for auto and home insurance due to lower rates and merged plans.
Similarly, if both you and your partner are working full time, you can get a wider choice of health insurance coverage from both of your employers, possibly meaning lower rates and plans.
Goal Setting & Prioritizing
Don’t play “Till death do us part,” with your financial history when it comes to marriage. Sharing your history, goals, and account balances can make for a stronger relationship with your partner.
You or your partner might be bringing in debt, or have wildly different perspectives on money—it’s important to share these details to give each other the big picture when it comes to your bank accounts and financial history.
With the possibility of combining two income streams, you and your partner have the potential to save, invest, and pay off debt faster than you did on your own. Once you both know each other’s finances inside and out, you could start setting savings goals together, or prioritizing budgets towards investing.
If you combine finances, budgeting and keeping track of accounts can get tricky. You might want to utilize apps and technology to track spending, so neither of you are in the dark about bills, charges, and monthly expenses.
Ironing out the details of how you’ll share your pocketbook, no matter how small, can help secure a more solid future. As goals like children, buying a home, and retirement come into play, you can invest and spend accordingly.
Invest in Each Other with SoFi
As goals develop and grow, you might be looking to invest somewhere. SoFi Invest® offers zero pay SoFi management fees, and investments can start as low as $1.
With both automated and active investing, SoFi’s credentialed financial planners and tools can make it easier to create a personalized financial plan for you and yours. With financial planning services offered free of charge, you might say the best is yet to come.
Interested in investing as a couple? See if SoFi Invest is right for you.
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