September 19, 2008 in Business

PERSONAL FINANCE

 

There are very few life occurrences that don’t have some sort of connection to money.

Almost every stage and event in your personal life will require you to reassess your financial situation. In all life events, whether they’re expected or unexpected, try not to make emotional decisions when it comes to finances.

Marriage: When you say ‘I do,’ vow to have a financial plan. Merging your financial life with that of your spouse raises a host of issues, including paying joint debts and household expenses, deciding who pays the bills and who makes investment decisions, and determining whether to file income tax returns jointly or as two separate, married taxpayers.

Discuss how you will reconcile different styles to maintain marital and financial harmony. Talk over your approach to taking on debt and making major purchases. And don’t forget to resolve bread-and-butter issues, such as whether you should have separate bank accounts with one joint account for common household expenses, or whether you should have just one joint account.

Children: Kids may bring unexpected costs and insurance needs. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a child born last year to middle-income families will cost mom and dad a total of $204,060 by the time he or she reaches age 18.

That includes the cost of providing food, shelter, clothing and other necessities.

A key piece of advice to prospective parents: Make sure you have good health insurance coverage. And life insurance becomes even more essential because you want to ensure that your family has enough money to cover bills and college costs when you die.

Divorce: Unfortunately, marriages don’t always work out. And when divorce occurs, the financial impact can be devastating. Both spouses should be up to date on marital assets and liabilities, tax returns and cash flow.

You’ll need to figure out how to divide the assets and liabilities. State law may affect this. For instance, in a community-property state, earnings during marriage and property acquired with those earnings are considered community property – but that doesn’t mean a couple’s assets are divided down the middle.

Dallas Morning News


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