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First Comes Love, Then Comes Money Talk: How to Tackle Finances Once You’ve Tied the Knot

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)

Hooray! The wedding—and all of its seating-chart headaches—is over. Time to catch your breath and get to the good stuff: starting married life with your soul mate. (Dawww.) First up? Financial planning, of course. Now, while this prospect might not seem as immediately sexy as honeymoon planning, we’re here to remind you that the absolute best time to start building the future you want is now. (Plus, it’ll make you a stronger, healthier and happier couple if you hop right to it.) Here’s your newlywed checklist.

Discuss Combining Finances

First things first: Decide just how shared you want your money to be. In other words, will you be merging your bank accounts and credit cards, keeping them entirely separate or working out a combo of the two? Even if you’ve had a system in place for years, this is a great opportunity to reevaluate how current practices are actually working for you both. Sit down together, weigh the pros and cons of pooling your funds and find a solution you’re both comfortable with.

Establish Your Roles

Next? Clearly designate who handles which financial tasks. For example, if you’re the type-A person in the relationship, it might make more sense for you to deal with the monthly utility and rent bills, while your partner takes care of the grocery shopping and pays for transportation costs. Pen a list of your respective responsibilities so that you don’t have any blind spots (e.g., “I thought you sent the rent check!”) down the road.

Consider an Advisor

Let’s be real: Financial planning can be dense and confusing even for those who’ve done their homework. Enter Northwestern Mutual’s approach to simplifying the conversation. From balancing budgets so that you can say yes to the things you love (guilt-free!) to setting smart insurance and investment strategies in motion, your Northwestern Mutual advisor will help you navigate through every stage of life together—for richer or for poorer; in sickness and in health. (Think putting a plan in place to save for your first house while paying down your student loans and still taking that romantic anniversary trip to Paris every spring.) Want some help with this thing?

Talk with an Advisor Today

Sort Out Your Health Insurance

Getting married is one of the few life events that lets you switch healthcare plans outside of the open enrollment period—so you’d be wise to take advantage. If you’re currently under separate health plans through your employers, compare costs and coverage benefits to see which will be more helpful. Factors like lower premiums, doctor choice and maternity perks can help you decide whether to switch to your S.O.’s plan, bring them onto yours or keep your separate policies for the time being.

Make Money Talks a Part Of Your Routine

The more you talk, the less uncomfy it becomes. We suggest weaving formal money catch-ups into your routine—and preferably in a way that’s fun for you. PureWow’s money editor started the tradition of monthly chats with her hubby over a bottle of wine. During these meetings they check in on their budget, discuss any upcoming bills and generally air any fiscal concerns. This kind of dialogue strengthens overall communication and boosts trust levels. Double win.