Kicking off wedding season with money tips for newlyweds

Investment professional gives money advice for after the wedding

money (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
So it’s officially the opening of wedding season. As the smoke clears from the bonfires, it’s time to strike up the band and put on your dancing shoes as couple after couple walk down the aisle to tie the knot.
As one of the biggest reasons for divorce is due to money issues, I would like to give money tips to the newlyweds so that they can build a financially secure future.
The 49-day count from Passover to Shavuot, when the nation of Israel received the Torah, should be a happy time.
Unfortunately, it contains a semi-mourning period.
“The practice is not to get married between Passover and Shavuot, until Lag Ba’omer, because during this time the students of Rabbi Akiva perished. (Shulchan Aruch).”
Why did they perish? According to the Talmud in Tractate Yevamot: “It was said that Rabbi Akiva had 12,000 pairs of disciples from Gabbatha to Antipatris, and all of them died at the same time because they did not treat each other with respect.”
Each partner in a marriage needs to treat the other with respect, especially when it comes to money issues. A few months ago I spoke with a husband who came from an extremely wealthy family. His wife did not. She wanted to take a course in graphic design, and when she asked her husband for a check, he said that he was writing down the cost of the course and it would be considered a loan! She would need to pay him back for the course. I told him that I thought that was a terrible idea and that having his wife “owe” him money was a recipe for disaster.
The couple should both be in the loop when it comes to financial decisions, and both of them should know about all bank and investment accounts. It’s okay for one of them to manage the accounts, but both of them need to be aware as to what is in all accounts and how the money is being spent.
Get organized
Make a list of all income, assets and debts, including credit cards and loans that you each bring into the marriage.
Get all your accounts updated, especially if there is a name change involved. Don’t wait until you are about to make a trip and then have to scramble to change the name on your passport. The same goes for adding names to bank accounts, changing names on credit cards, driver’s license, Social Security and Bituach Leumi. You will also need to name your spouse as the beneficiary on certain investment accounts.
Start keeping track of all money spent and earned. When two people who have been living independently suddenly become one unit, spending can spin out of control as each spouse continues to spend on what they are used to, blind to their new reality. Certain expenses will shrink because spending for two individuals can be more costly then expenses for a married couple. Make sure that monthly and annual expenses do not exceed income to avoid getting into an overdraft situation.
This is a golden opportunity for the newlyweds to start off their marriage by living within their means. If good financial habits are reinforced at an early stage, they are much more likely to become habitual. That will enable the couple to live in a financially responsible manner and avoid the pitfalls of financial mismanagement that plague so much of society.

Start saving

As soon as possible, a new couple should start a disciplined monthly and annual savings plan. It is a good idea to use some of the wedding money for this purpose. Many couples receive a substantial amount of money as wedding gifts.
Investing this money wisely can help them get on the path to financial security. If a couple starts saving immediately, it makes future expenses much easier to deal with.
The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc., or its affiliates.
Aaron Katsman is a licensed financial professional in Israel and the United States who helps people with US investment accounts. He is the author of the book
Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing.