4 Things to Do After Getting Married
If you don’t already own a house (or if one of you do own a house but you don’t own one together), don’t buy a house together until you’ve been married one year. This is a simple thing that will contribute to your marital bliss and will help you have a better chance of becoming one of the few prosperous households in the world (instead of one that just gets by or one of the households that just can’t get by).
This might prove an unpopular idea or suggestion to those newly married couples that want to quickly purchase a home, but discipline and prudence are what make people rich, not doing what you want whenever you want. Of course, we all want to purchase a house with the one we love so that we may have a proper home, plant roots in the world, and start a family. Additionally, buying a house can have some real long-term financial benefits for many (but not all) people if it is done properly. Regardless of the pleasures and benefits of owning a house, waiting one year to purchase a house will allow you and your new husband or wife:
- to really get used to living with each other as a married couple – this is true (although to a lesser extent) even if you lived together before getting
- to get all of the “kinks” out of your marriage before adding the stresses and difficulties that will arise with purchasing and moving into a new house – no marriage is immune to this so don’t be naive
- to have all of the necessary discussions about lifestyle and location so that you may make a very wise house purchase for your family
- to get all of the little financial to-dos taken care of (eg. combining accounts, possibly refinancing, paying off high-interest credit card debt, building your emergency fund, etc.)
Even if you have everything else taken care of, we still recommend spending a year in a calm state, enjoying each other in your new marriage, before buying a home because buying a home is a very big commitment and can be a very stressful thing to do properly. A calm and prudent approach will benefit you in the long run. Finally, if you think that “now is the time to buy” or that you have to buy a house right now to take advantage of some sort of real estate low, you should take a deep breath and back away – very few wise decisions were ever made in a hurried state and you won’t be the exception. Don’t act imprudently just because you think you can get some sort of deal – that’s not how wealthy people live their lives and it’s not going to really affect your financial picture much either way.
2. Start Saving for a Down Payment
If you don’t already have a pile of cash for a down payment and you plan to buy a home (which most of you should do at some point for various financial and personal reasons), start saving now for a down payment. That’s an obvious thing to advise – you must usually put up some sort of down payment when purchasing a house (at least 3% in most cases but sometimes more). There’s little more to say here than that you should save aggressively for this and that in most cases, it might be reasonable to pull back on some of your investing in the short term in order to build up your down payment.
3. Consolidate Credit Card Debt
In many cases, married couples can improve their financial positions by consolidating credit card debt. Consolidating debt can benefit your household in various ways depending on your current situation. The biggest benefit usually comes from being able to lower the total average interest rate on your debt. This is usually possible if one partner has a better credit (FICO) score than the other partner – by refinancing all debt under the better score, you can usually get a better interest rate.
4. Speak to Your Accountant About Tax Benefits
Now that you are married you might very likely be able to get a nice benefit on your next tax filing due to the fact that your household size increased. This isn’t always true, but you can often get a tax advantage in your first year of marriage because you were paying taxes from your paycheck as a single person but now you will be filing (possibly) as a married person (and possibly as a single-earner married person). If you’re self-employed or if you have very high incomes it might not work as well. Regardless, speak with your accountant or tax professional to see what you can do here.
There aren’t that many tips to really give married couples actually – so that’s pretty much it. That’s because if you did everything in our article on what to do before getting married, you’re likely in a good place already and there’s really not that much more that needs to be done once you’re married. You’ve hopefully done the hard work already and you can enjoy your new marriage for a while. Of course, if you haven’t prepared and if you haven’t done the things we recommend you do before getting married, you should read the article on what to do before tying the knot and do as much as you can – it’s really never too late to get on the path to financial freedom, wealth, and marital success.