Marriage: Things to do after saying "I do"

When you say “I do,” you join lives — and likely your finances. Marriage can change your retirement planning strategy. These tips may help you create a strong financial union.

Tip 1

Get a combined view

Look at what you’re both bringing financially — income and expenses — to the marriage. Next, make decisions together about your household budget, which should include how you’ll pay off any debt and ways you can jointly save more for retirement.

Check your credit

Request copies of your credit report — and make sure they’re accurate. That way there are no surprises when you and your spouse apply for things like a home loan or a car loan.

Tip 2

Save early, save often

If you are both just getting started in your careers, save now so your investments have more time to grow. Newlyweds who are closer to retirement may meet the criteria to make catch-up contributions to their workplace savings plan. It’s a great opportunity for you both to save more than the standard IRS limits allow.

Retirement income tool

Add your spouse’s retirement savings to the retirement income tool on your plan’s website. It shows you how your combined savings may affect your estimated retirement income, giving you more insight on whether you’re on track to reach your goals.

Tip 3

Investigate your taxes

Your tax status and potential deductions can change when you get married. Meet with your tax advisor to discuss your situation and any available savings opportunities. And don’t forget to consider adjusting your W-4 withholding status with your employer.

Tip 4

Make your designations

Assigning beneficiaries is a vital part of retirement planning. After you marry, it's important to make sure that your beneficiary designations are up-to-date on all your accounts.

Financial planning is an important part of your marriage. As the years pass, review your finances and retirement plans often.

1 Source Knoll, Melissa, A.Z., Christopher R. Tamborini, and Kevin Whitman. 2012. I Do…Want to Save: Marriage and Retirement Savings in Young Households. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74(1): 86-100.

This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.