It’s time to do some serious planning!
I am NOT talking about “Just Married? Your Post wedding To-Dos,” nor about “10 Things You Need to Do After Your Wedding Is Over.” Not that these things are not important. And there’s great advice in “Tackle Those Post-Wedding Tasks,” and in “POST-WEDDING CHECKLIST.” So I don’t mean to trivialize any of these “urgent” post-wedding tasks. But I do want to talk a little about the important, rather than the urgent, issues in this post.
Are you planning to have children? Or do you already have children? Do you already own a home? If no, would you like to own a home sometime in the future? Do you have life insurance to protect your new spouse? Is it the right type and amount? Is the beneficiary designation up-to-date? Do you have a retirement plan? Will it be adequate for your future needs? Have you set up a budget for your everyday living expenses? And for saving for down payments, a new home purchase, your retirement plans or your other needs, wants and desires?
These are the kinds of things that you would have been best advised to discuss before deciding to make a lifelong commitment to each other. But few couples spend any time on these critical issues while they concentrate on the wedding details. And many have limited their choices by over-spending on the wedding and reception. Others make conscious — or unconscious — decisions to put these discussions and planning necessities off “for now.”
There’s always tomorrow, right? Perhaps you are “immortal.” You just know that nothing will happen to disable or kill you. What, after all, can happen to you? Bad things always happen to other people! You’ll worry about this sometime in the future, right? Many of you will spend more time planning your annual vacations than you spend on planning for your futures!
Before I became a wedding officiant I spent many years in the insurance and financial services businesses. I left those businesses because I became frustrated with the unwillingness of my potential clients to realistically address the questions I have posed above. But that doesn’t mean that I have stopped caring!
Do you plan to buy a house? Then get with someone like my friend Kim Blanquie who can help you figure out what you’ll need to do to qualify for buying your first home — or a subsequent one. What about your insurance — auto, home, life, business? If you’ve got these policies spread out amongst several companies you are likely spending too much. And are your liability limits adequate to cover you in the case of an accident or incident where you are deemed to be at fault? Do you have an umbrella policy, especially if you have teenaged drivers? These are serious issues. It could cost you your assets or 25% of your income for the next 20 years if you are not properly covered!
Are you planning to save for the kids’ college education before you save for you own retirement? Give that a second thought! You — or you children — can always borrow for college. But you can’t borrow in retirement when you have no means to repay what you want to borrow. Save for yourself and your spouse first! Do you have trouble understanding these issues and trade-offs? Consult with someone who can help you understand the issues, trade-offs, and alternatives. Someone you trust to really help you and not just try to sell you plans, investments, and policies.
I hope this post is not a “Debbie Downer” post for you. But I felt it my duty to at least bring up some of these issues. I do care about you, people, client or not. And I’d love to have your comments and feedback. So don’t be shy! Thanks for reading.