You likely have financial plans and goals of your own for 2019, but if you’re married or partnered up, getting on the same page with your other half is one of the most important things you can do to get your finances on your chosen track.
You might schedule check-ins periodically, or be planning to talk openly with your partner at some unspecified point in the future. But why put it off? For Kiplinger, Lisa Brown, a certified financial planner, makes the case for doing so on Jan. 1.
On the first day of each year, Brown writes, she and her husband sit down to plan for the year ahead. This lets them accomplish two things, she writes:
It helps us balance our family planning activities while providing a quick review of our current investments. On one hand, it’s fun to consider a trip to Disney or a Caribbean cruise for our family vacation. On the other hand, we check on the progress of our cash and investment accounts to make certain we’ll have enough money to live comfortably now, as well as 20 years from now, while paying for three college educations in between.
If you’re looking forward to a more fruitful 2019, here are some things to consider during your money date.
Who you marry is one of the most important financial decisions you can make. Financial incompatibility, in fact, is one of the main reasons couples get divorced.
Pay Off Your Debts
If you’re like the typical American family, you racked up some charges over the holiday season. You’ll want to pay those off as quickly as possible, and consider any other debt you have, as well. Then make a repayment plan.
Plan Your Vacations
Especially if you have children, planning where you’ll travel to, how much time you’ll take off and how much you can spend is important and necessary.
Consider Your Kids’ Higher Education
If you plan to help your kids pay for university, then it’s worth upping contributions to a savings account, or looking into options for opening one. Not only will this help your kids in the future, it’ll help your tax bill.
“In addition to giving families a way to save, many states provide a tax deduction for these contributions,” writes Brown. “We live in Georgia, which allows a married couple to deduct the first $US4,000 ($5,626) they contribute for each child on their state income tax.”
Review Your Health Plan
If you have a high-deductible health plan, you can open a health savings account, which offers many benefits. You can contribute pre-tax money (lowering your overall tax bill) and use the money to pay for bills. If you don’t spend it, you can roll it over until retirement.
OK, so you might be a bit hungover on Jan. 1, or have other things going on. And that’s fine! But the sooner you sit down together and talk through what you’d like to accomplish, the better your chances of crossing some of your financial goals off of your list.