The financial cost of marriage

When thinking about marriage, one of the first things that might come to mind is the cost of the wedding. However, beyond the big day there are other financial costs to consider.

Some couples will choose to join their finances, which subsequently means you’ll likely become responsible for each other’s financial behaviour, such as credit card debt. Marriage introduces changes in your financial situation and you will need to consider your spouse in any plans you may have around your money and finances. Understanding the financial cost of being married can help you plan ahead and be prepared when going through these changes, so you’re able to build a strong financial foundation.

Wedding debt

One of the biggest expenses you may first encounter as a married couple will most likely be your wedding day. With the average wedding now costing above £25,000* according to a survey by hitched.com, some may carry wedding debt into married life if credit cards and loans are used to finance it.

Prenuptial agreements

A prenuptial agreement will set out your rights in relation to property, debts, income and other assets in the event that you divorce or separate from your spouse. It’s probably not what most couples want to think about and it may not be for everyone, but it can help those getting married to feel reassured that if things were to go wrong, their money would be safe. Pre-nups can also help to avoid costly litigation over who gets what. It’s worth noting that a prenuptial agreement must be agreed and done at least 4 weeks before you tie the knot. Whilst you can draw one up yourself online, it’s best to go to a qualified solicitor.

Bank accounts

Deciding whether you keep separate accounts or have a joint account is something that you’ll need to decide. For instance you may want to keep a joint account for general household expenses like rent/mortgage repayments, groceries, bills etc, and a separate account for your personal spending, such as clothes, nights out with friends. Ultimately, it all comes down to what works best for you as a couple, but it’s worth understanding how a joint account will affect your financial position should the worst happen.

Insurance

You may both have insurance policies that may need to change once you’re married. It’s a good idea to sit down and compare what each of you has and what they cover. Doing so will help ensure there are no overlaps and if there are, ironing these out could help save some money. The main thing is that you’ve both got the best protection possible.

Life insurance may not be as important when you’re single and without children but when you’re married you may want to consider planning for the unexpected. Should anything happen to you, how will your spouse support your household when there is a loss of income? If life insurance is appropriate for you the typical monthly cost is between £8-£10. ¹

Wills

Writing a will may seem a scary thought but as mentioned before, it’s best to be prepared should anything unexpected happen. As soon as you get married, any existing will you have automatically becomes invalid. As a married couple you’ll have the option of taking out a joint will that covers you both. If one spouse were to die, the other would inherit everything and if the second spouse dies the inheritance would go to their children if they have any. The other option would be to have two separate wills individually. You can write a will yourself but it’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer to get advice. Of course, lawyer fees will apply and having a solicitor write your will can cost between £100 to £200 and between £150 to £300 for a joint will.²

Tax allowance

For married couples there are separate taxes that allow them to reduce their tax bill by transferring one half of their tax free allowance to their partner. Married Couple’s Allowance reduces your annual tax bill by £220 to £835. This is for those who are born before 6th April 1935. For those born after 1935 there is the Marriage Allowance that you can claim, which allows a couple to save up to £220 on their tax bill if they are married or in a civil partnership. You may be eligible if you or your partner earns less than £11,000.³

Marriage is of course an exciting and wonderful thing but the financial costs shouldn’t be overlooked. Whether you’re thinking of tying the knot or are newly married, it’s important to consider the costs that will occur over the course of your time together so you can be prepared financially.

 

* The Sun, https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1840440/average-cost-of-wedding-soars-to-25000-and-parents-still-foot-most-of-the-bill/

¹Insurance bought through typical comparison site, direct insurer or direct bank. Money Saving Expert http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/insurance/cheap-life-insurance

²Money advice Service https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/using-a-solicitor-to-write-your-will

³Money.co.uk http://www.money.co.uk/guides/how-will-getting-married-affect-your-finances.htm