The Sunday Mail
Deciding when the time is right to get married has an emotional element, but there is also a financial side to consider. Merging your finances with your significant other requires some planning when it comes to things like setting up a household budget, saving for the short- and long-term, buying a home, and paying down individual or joint debts.
Age can also play a part in the decision-making process.
Whether getting married earlier makes sense versus waiting until later depends on your financial goals and overall money situation.
If you are planning to tie the knot, here are some important things to weigh in the balance.
Getting married can be a good thing financially in many ways. Going from one income to two, for example, can make it easier to get a grip on debt repayment or advance your savings goals.
Having a partner to help with saving and investing can also help you create a brighter outlook for retirement.
And when you have someone working with you on a monthly budget, that creates a certain level of accountability, can motivate you to keep spending in check.
You could also come out ahead, as a couple, by merging your insurance coverage.
If you have both been paying for health insurance, either out of pocket or through your employer, having one spouse join the other’s plan could add some savings back into your monthly budget.
Buying a home is made easier, when you have two incomes and two credit scores to draw from, for mortgage approvals.
Married couples could also potentially pay less in taxes when filing a joint return, depending on their incomes and the types of deductions and credits they are eligible for.
On the other hand, marriage can lead to financial difficulties, if you and your spouse have conflicting ideas about how to manage your money together.
For example, you might be a saver, while your spouse is a spender.
Or one of you may be a stickler for detail when it comes to budgeting, while the other is more relaxed about tracking expenses.
Problems can also arise if one spouse is bringing a substantial amount of debt into the marriage and you cannot agree on the best approach to pay it off.
If you do agree to handle it together, that could put more pressure on your household income, forcing you to delay other money goals.
There are other financial impacts that are less direct as well.
For instance, if you plan to have children, you would have to consider how that would affect career advancement for each of you.
Would one spouse be expected to stay home while the other works, or would you both share in work and childcare responsibilities equally?
These are issues you would want to decide well before a baby arrives in the picture.
While you can use the average age of marriage as a guideline, choosing when to get married is ultimately a personal decision.
If you and your significant other are still trying to find common ground financially, consider talking to a financial advisor.
Getting a third-party perspective on your finances and money goals can help you decide whether it is better to walk down the aisle sooner, or later.