Now that the wedding festivities are coming to a close, it’s important to take stock of your financial future—and start living happily ever after.
Planning for a wedding is a demonstration of commitment. It requires you to set a goal, put together a timeline and schedule, and (in most cases) make compromises together. That experience can help lay the foundation for a happy couple’s next big task: combining previous financial arrangements and developing a new financial plan.
Alim Dhanji, a CFP® professional with Assante Wealth Management in Vancouver, believes that understanding one another’s finances and establishing shared goals is best accomplished soon after the wedding.
Dhanji says people from diverse backgrounds and cultures often think differently about money. A CFP professional or QAFP® professional will consider the financial circumstances of both partners and any existing financial plans. From there, they’ll see how they can be consolidated into one plan that serves common goals.
“It’s best to get on the same track as quickly as possible so that we can develop strategies to efficiently manage your finances,” says Dhanji.
Jeanette Brox, a CFP professional at Investors Group in Toronto, notes that, according to reports, many marriages fail for financial reasons. It’s important for couples to discuss their finances and ensure they’re on the same page as quickly as possible.
“This is a union and two people have come together to have a good life—to do that they need a combined approach,” said Brox.
This type of approach includes consideration of all the aspects of a financial plan, such as cash management, tax planning, investment and retirement planning, insurance, risk management and estate planning.
Brox said a consolidated financial plan enables a couple to make the most of what they have. For example, a younger couple may have unused tax credits from their tuition. “It’s a combined effort to structure their financial wellness,” said Brox.
Dhanji agrees and says that establishing a common goal, such as buying a home or starting a family, can quickly align a couple’s view of their finances—and set the course for their financial future.
“They’re recently married and it’s a good time to be talking about their future together and how they can achieve their goals. We get their goals written down, we know where their assets are and can plan efficiently to make the most of them. Once there is a plan on paper and they have the direction, it’s achievable,” Dhanji said.
But just like a diet or an exercise program, if you don’t see the benefits, it’s not sustainable, says Brox, who believes it’s unrealistic to “save every cent.” She advises including short, medium and long-term goals to stay motivated. “While buying a house may be a medium-term goal, saving for vacations or bucket-list experiences is also important. There needs to be some flexibility,” she noted.
Brox and Dhanji both agree that it’s important that couples don’t have financial secrets from one another—and for each partner to maintain their own credit rating.
To find a CFP professional or QAFP professional in your area who can act as your financial guide, use our Find Your Planner tool.