Preparing to say “I do"? As your wedding day approaches, there are some important things you need to think about, aside from your honeymoon destination (Tuscany, anyone?).
Marriage is a big commitment that requires a long-term game plan. Hopefully life won't throw too many curveballs your way, but if or when it does, you want to be ready. According to a survey conducted on behalf of BMO, 60 per cent of surveyed Canadians feel financially unprepared for major life events.1 To help you be better prepared, here are three steps to take before the big day.
Did you know? The average cost of a contested divorce in Canada is more than $12,000.
1. Talk about your dreams, even the wild and crazy ones.
Start by looking at your short-, medium- and long-term goals, both as an individual and a couple. Do you want to have kids in the next few years? Or are kids off the table? (It's a good idea to know this ahead of time!) Do you want to buy a home or become a world traveler? Do you have aspirations to become a CEO or eventually quit your job and strike out on your own?
Whatever your goals are, lay them on the table and make sure you've reached some sort of consensus about what you both want out of life. For additional support, some therapists offer pre-marriage counselling to help ensure you're on the same page before your nuptials.
2. Talk money with your honey.
You may be sharing a bed, but what about your finances? Now more than ever, it's important to talk about your finances, because marriage and money can be tough to balance.
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The key, as in other aspects of your relationship, is to openly communicate with one another. Get the dialogue started with these tips:
- Create a budget together: Look at your income and expenses and come up with a savings plan to fuel your goals. Decide what's worth spending money on and what's not.
- Take an honest look at your debt: What are you both bringing to the table? Student loan or mortgage debt could have a significant impact on your finances, so work on a payoff plan as a team.
- Cover your bases: If one of you were to get sick or injured, do you have a plan in place to cover your outstanding debt? Now may be the time to consider if you need critical illness, disability or life insurance so you're covered.
Taking these steps can help you be better financially prepared for whatever comes your way, through richer and poorer and in sickness and in health.
3. Prepare for the future — as long as you both shall live.
On your wedding day, it can certainly feel like everything is moving toward happily ever after, but sometimes life has other plans. While it's not fun to think about you or your spouse passing away, it's a good idea to be prepared, just in case.
A life insurance policy can help protect your family and your finances after you're gone. For instance, it can help your family pay for unexpected funeral costs, pay down debt or deal with the loss of income.
If you do purchase a life insurance plan, be sure to name your beneficiary to ensure they would receive the death benefit should something happen to you. Also, consider getting a will. It can help outline your wishes and how you want to distribute your assets, making it easier on survivors when trying to manage the financial aftermath of death.
Did you know? A beneficiary is the person you name to receive the payment (a.k.a. amount of money) from your life insurance policy.
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By taking proactive steps now and discussing your future together on all fronts, you can hopefully enjoy more romance and less drama.
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1BMO Wealth Institute study conducted online by Pollara, random survey sample of 800 Canadians 18 years of age and over who are not yet retired and in a married or in a common-law relationship, March 15 and 19, 2013.
These comments are general in nature and should not be construed to be legal or tax advice, as each client’s situation is different.
Please consult your own legal and tax advisor.
*BMO Life Assurance Company