Marriage & Your Money

Planning a wedding celebration to share your love with family and friends can be one of the most exciting and happy times in your life. Keep in mind that solid communication between couples about financial matters is important – beginning with the wedding plans, and continuing throughout your lives together.

First Midwest Marriage & Your Money Planning

And, as soon as you become engaged, sit down with your fiancé and make decisions together about where it’s most important to spend money on your wedding: venue, food, music, photography and video, flowers, wedding attire – maybe the honeymoon itself.  Also be sure to:

  • Decide on how many people you want to invite – this will guide most of your planning.
  • Look at several different providers of each wedding product or service. If there’s a bridal show in your area, take advantage of this very efficient way to compare prices.
  • Try not to charge your wedding expenses on a credit card unless you are getting rewards points and can pay off the balance quickly – or you may be paying for your wedding for decades.

Call 800-241-1749 to get connected with a First Midwest Financial Consultant today.

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Set Financial Goals Together

It’s a good idea to get on the same page, financially speaking, as soon as you open the book on your life as a couple. Take the time to discuss your short-term and longer-term needs and wants. One of you may need a new car within a year, while you both may want to buy a house within a few years. List your goals, prioritize them, and determine the amount that needs to be saved each month to achieve them within a particular timeframe.

  • A good starter financial goal is saving at least three months’ worth of living expenses for emergencies.
  • Develop a budget that includes regular savings toward your financial goals.
  • Revisit your goals periodically to make sure you’re on target, and that your goals are still relevant.
  • Review each other’s credit reports prior to your marriage. If a spouse-to-be has a poor credit history, that shouldn’t be a bad surprise further down the line – and you may be able to improve bad credit more easily working as a team.
  • Exchange prior year tax returns with your spouse to increase awareness of each other’s finances and assist in future tax planning.

Call 800-241-1749 to get connected with a First Midwest Financial Consultant today.

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Joint or Separate?

While there is no one “right” way for married couples to handle their finances, it’s important to establish a plan to manage your money together.

  • Some couples prefer one joint checking account, while others prefer two separate accounts or a combination of separate and joint accounts. Factors to consider include convenience and the minimum balances required to minimize fees.
  • You’ll also need to decide if, when and how you want to merge your other financial accounts, such as savings and credit cards.
  • Deciding how to divide household expenses, and who will pay the bills, could be one of the early keys to marital bliss.
  • Don’t forget to adjust your tax withholding to reflect your new marital status. Working couples may need to have more tax withheld to cover the higher taxes (though couples with only one earner may see a tax “bonus”).

Call 800-241-1749 to get connected with a First Midwest Financial Consultant today.

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Compare and Coordinate Benefit Plans

Compare the costs and benefits of each spouse’s employee benefits package. Choosing the right combinations of your available choices will have you benefiting from the best of the best in each category.

  • Health Insurance Plans – It may be cheaper for each of you to retain your individual benefits for now, or one of you might have a significantly superior plan that can cover the other.
  • Retirement Plans – Start looking at your retirement plans as a combined investment portfolio. You may each want to invest in different types of securities to diversify your portfolios and better manage risk.
  • 401(k) Plans – If either of you has employer-matching contributions to a 401(k) plan as one of your benefits, split up your own contributions to make the most of the match.

Call 800-241-1749 to get connected with a First Midwest Financial Consultant today.

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Do It Better the Second Time Around

Spending sufficient time discussing your past, present – and future – finances before joining hands in money is important, especially if money caused problems in a prior marriage. It’s important to get things out in the open so they don’t cause similar problems in your new marriage.

Be proactive about resolving potential money-related “stumbling blocks.” These typically include:

  • Titling of property one partner is bringing into the marriage
  • Imbalances in credit card debt or retirement savings accounts
  • Issues regarding money spent on stepchildren, including child support payments

Call 800-241-1749 to get connected with a First Midwest Financial Consultant today.

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If a Marriage Ends

Even the most amicable divorce is likely to result in big financial changes. You’ll obviously need to work with an attorney or a mediator to iron out a complete settlement, but there are several important things you need to do to make sure your financial separation is being dealt with appropriately.

  • Be sure to cancel all joint credit cards and get new ones issued in your name only, or your liability for your ex-spouse’s bills will continue. For those of you who have never established credit in your own name – women in particular – it may be easier to apply for a new credit card while you’re still legally married. You’ll also want to open a checking account in your name only and close your joint accounts.
  • Revise your will to make sure it reflects your current situation.
  • Review any existing insurance coverage you have and make adjustments to the coverage – and beneficiaries – as appropriate. If your health insurance coverage is through your spouse, find out how to continue uninterrupted coverage through COBRA if you don’t have other coverage options.
  • Review your retirement assets. Once your divorce is final, you should speak to a First Midwest Financial Consultant and establish a plan to rebuild assets you may have lost in the settlement.

Call 800-241-1749 to get connected with a First Midwest Financial Consultant today.

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