Right now all you can think about is the wedding, the reception and the blissful relaxation of the honeymoon. And that's exactly what you should be concentrating on. However, when the party's over and thank you notes have all been sent, it's time to get down to the business of building a life together. Here are five things you should consider doing shortly after the honeymoon.
1. Change Names on Documents and Accounts
The first step is to make sure any name change is taken care of, if desired. Get a copy of your marriage license first as you'll often need this to change other documents. If one partner is changing their name, that means a new driver's license and Social Security card. It also means contacting utilities, banks, credit card companies and any other entity that uses the former name to formally request a name change on the account. Not all of these need to be done immediately, but any that have to do with finances should be a higher priority.
2. Get Your Finances In Order
Combining two sets of finances into one that you share can be taxing, literally. Lots of things change when you get married, including things like how you file your taxes. You'll also want to be sure that investment accounts are now shared or are at least held in a "joint and survivorship" status. In the event something happens to one partner, the asset would pass directly to the other without worrying about probate.
Unless you're a money expert, it's probably wise to consult a team of fiduciary financial advisors to help you make some investment and retirement planning decisions. You are no longer just responsible for your own financial future, you have a family to consider.
3. Shop for Insurance
Life. Health. Auto. Home. Wow, so many types of insurance to deal with, and they all need to be updated when you get married. Some might just need a name change or a name added to a policy. Others might need a major overhaul.
Home or renter's insurance companies will need an updated list of items to cover including the engagement/wedding rings. They will also want to know how many people are living in the residence. Updating your health insurance might be as easy as adding your spouse to an employer-sponsored plan. On the other hand, you might need to shop the Health Insurance Marketplace for a new policy based on two incomes and covering two people.
Car insurance might be the bright spot in all this. Some companies will offer discounts for having multiple vehicles on a policy and some even give you a break on your premiums just for being married.
4. Look Up Your New Family History
Getting married means you are now linked to another person's family history. This can have medical implications, of course, but you might be more interested in where the family roots are. What part of the world, who married who, who died when. This is all fascinating information, especially if you are interested in family genealogy. Now you have a whole new set of relatives to explore.
Getting married means starting a life together with another person. While the romantic ideal is something to aspire to, the reality is, combining two lives can get a little messy. It's best to deal with the items above as soon as possible to avoid any potential problems in the future. Also, if you get them out of the way, you can get back to living that romantic ideal!