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Post-Wedding Financial To-Do List

Once you have just tied the knot and all the excitement is over, you now have to face the real world of finance as a couple. Hopefully your first conversation about money has taken place before your marriage but if not, better late than never! Even though you have the rest of your lives to spend together, you should accomplish these five important financial tasks within your first year of marriage.

Set Financial Goals

Your financial goals will determine how you live your lives from here on out. It is important for you to establish where you stand on certain financial topics such as savings, credit cards, and risk tolerance. Is one of you a spender and the other a saver? Some view credit cards as an easy way to build credit while others see them as an evil temptation. There are plenty of people who prefer to take on a high risk for the chance of gaining a high reward, while others tend to be more conservative and prefer more dependable savings or investment strategies. Once you have disclosed these opinions, you can move on to setting more specific, achievable goals. Common goals include buying a house, paying off student loans, financing children’s college education, saving enough for retirement; however the possibilities are endless and depend entirely on your specific situation.

Get Organized

Once your financial goals are all laid out, you must work out how to practically achieve them. Budgeting is a key component of this. You should write down your combined monthly income, subtract monthly fixed (necessary) expenses, and see how much you have left to spend. Together, you should decide how much of that should be put into savings or investments. Building an emergency fund with enough to fund three to six months’ worth of expenses is a fantastic place to start. From there, you should decide how you are going to manage your finances. Will you have one joint account, two separate ones, or a joint account for household expenses and separate accounts for each of your personal use? Who is responsible for paying the bills? Who will manage the budget and keep track of expenses? It is important to make sure you are specifically assigning these tasks but sharing the financial responsibility.

Update Your Paperwork

You have just confessed your love in front of all your friends and family—now it is time to do it for the government. If one of you is changing your last name, you will need to get a new driver’s license, then Social Security card, passport, and credit cards as soon as possible. Make sure to bring your marriage license with you! You should also review your tax withholding. You will both need to fill out a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, to update your marital status and number of W-2 withholding allowances. Additionally, you will also likely want to add each other as a beneficiary in your will, investments, and all insurance accounts.

Create A Will

If one or both of you do not have a will or trust, marriage is the time to start one. Many newlywed couples believe they do not need a will because they are usually young and in good health. No one anticipates an early death, however, so it is important to be prepared for the worst. If you care who gets your property, money, and responsibility of your children, you need a will. To get started, there is software available to create a legal, binding will in every state from home (as long as the guidelines are followed in regards to having it signed and witnessed) or by hiring an attorney. At minimum, a will should appoint a guardian for any minor children, appoint an executor to administer the will in the event of death, and explain exactly how all your property should be distributed.

Evaluate Your Insurance Coverage

Marriage is the perfect benchmark opportunity to take a look at your combined insurance policies and review them for insufficient, duplicate, or missing coverage. There is a potential to save on automobile insurance premiums by combining policies. Since marriage almost always involves living under the same roof, one of you will probably cancel your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy if you have one. It is important to take the time to ensure that all of your combined property (jewelry, electronics, collectibles, etc.) is covered under that remaining policy. It might be time to purchase a life insurance policy for one or both of you to protect the other from the significant income loss that would occur as the result an early death. If both of you have health insurance, you should look at your policies carefully from a benefits standpoint to see whether it makes more sense to cancel one plan or keep both. Procrastination alert: insurance companies usually only allow 30 days following the wedding to add a spouse as a dependent without providing evidence of insurability, so this is a priority!

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

While many people find discussing money uncomfortable, couples should NOT make finances a taboo topic in their relationship. As financial decisions affect all members of the family, big decisions and purchases should never be made without both of your consent. Even if you have decided to hold separate banking accounts, there cannot be big financial secrets between the two of you otherwise there is a breach in trust. It all comes down to respect, accountability, and honesty: both of you need to stick to the budget, set spending boundaries, and compromise with each other in order to be successful and achieve your financial goals. These ideals will not only help you in your finances, but will also benefit you in all aspects of your marriage.

Change can be daunting, especially when it comes to such a big transition as marriage. However, you don’t need to stress, as long as you set realistic financial goals, get organized, update your paperwork, evaluate your insurance, and simply communicate well with one another. Starting off on top of these things will help you to develop a happy and healthy marriage for years to come.

If you’d like to join your partner in learning more tips and trick for merging finances, SAVE THE DATE to attend our Marriage & Money Seminar on February 13, 2018, at 7:00 pm in Union room 227!

Abigail Pope

Peer Counselor I

Powercat Financial

www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial

 

 

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/a-post-nuptial-financial-to-do-list-guide-for-newlyweds-1289323

https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/five-financial-tips-for-newlyweds

http://www.valueyourmoney.org/couples-and-marriage/WeddingPlanning.asp

https://www.thebalance.com/why-you-need-a-will-1289264

Important Financial Dates for Kansas State University Students

If your week looks anything like mine, it is full of midterms. Take a break from studying to add these important financial dates to your calendar:

FAFSA Availability Date – October 1st, 2017

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) became available on October 1st. If you are going to be needing federal financial aid for the 2018 -2019 school year, this means you can start or complete the FAFSA for next school year currently. If at any time you have questions on your FAFSA, feel free to schedule an appointment with Powercat Financial to get those questions answered. To access the application, follow the link: https://fafsa.ed.gov/

FAFSA Priority Deadline – December 1st

The priority deadline for Kansas State University students needing federal financial aid for the 2018-2019 school year is December 1st, 2017. Keep in mind, this is only a priority date, not a deadline. You can still apply for financial aid after the priority date. However, there is limited funding for certain aid programs. For this reason, it is best to complete the FAFSA before the priority deadline. This is definitely a date to have marked on your calendar!

Thrifty Gifting Event – November 9th

Every year, Powercat Financial hosts a Thrifty Gifting event. The event consists of FREE FOOD, a quick presentation on how to save money during the holidays, and ends with a game to win prizes. The prizes include Country Stampede tickets, gift cards from various stores and restaurants from around Manhattan, and much more! This year, Thrifty Gifting will be held on November 9th at 4:30 pm in the Union Flint Hills room. Take a break from studying and bring you friends for some holiday financial fun!

Continuing K-State Student Scholarship Application – February 1st, 2018

“I hate getting scholarships”, said no student—ever. If you are a current K-State student, make sure to complete and submit the application for K-State scholarships by February 1st, 2018. This will make you eligible for various scholarships K-State has to offer, including departmental. The form takes about half an hour to complete. You can save your changes as you go along if you only have a minute here or there to complete it. Here is the link to the form: https://apply.ksu.edu/app/Dashboard_open.action

Salt Financial Tool Account Creation – WHENEVER

Every Kansas State student is granted access to a free account with the financial website, Salt. The account is not only free while you’re a student, but it is free for your LIFE. Salt can offer you free student loan advice once you graduate as you will no longer be able to use the services Powercat Financial has to offer. Other than free student loan advice, Salt has a scholarship search, Salt courses over various financial topics, and much more! Powercat Financial typically uses Salt to do a scholarship giveaway in the spring, so making an account now will have you prepared for the giveaway to come! To make an account, follow this link: https://www.saltmoney.org/register/index.html?WT.mc_id=CA-K-STATE-V&oe=001928&br=00

File Your 2017 Tax Returns – April 17, 2018

The traditional deadline for filing your income tax returns is April 15 each year. However for 2017 tax returns, April 15, 2018, will be a Sunday so the deadline would then be pushed to Monday April 16, 2018 — but because April 16, 2018, is on a Monday and is Emancipation Day, the tax deadline will be Tuesday, April 17. Be sure to file your 2017 tax returns by the April 17, 2018, deadline but do so earlier if you can so if you are entitled to a refund those dollars can get into your back account faster. If you owe taxes, you can still defer payment to the due date even if you file ahead. Each year K-State Research & Extension offers a FREE Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) service that will help you prepare your income tax returns at the Manhattan Public Library beginning February 1. They can prepare simple IRS 1040 tax returns and Kansas returns, but cannot prepare itemize returns or returns for members of the military, international students or states other than Kansas. You can set up a VITA appointment at the end of January online via www.riley.ksu.edu.

Graduating K-State Students Job Offer Review – WHENEVER

Have you received a job offer that included benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings vehicles? If so, it is common that the benefits can be confusing to understand. Powercat Financial Peer Counselors can help any K-State student understand the benefits they are being offered and decipher what the best option is. If you find yourself in this situation from now until May 2018, schedule a free and confidential appointment here: https://signin.k-state.edu/WebISO/login?service=https://ksis.k-state.edu/psp/ksis/EMPLOYEE/SA/c/KSU_MENU_CC2.KSU_SS_PFC_SUBMTAP.GBL?FolderPath=PORTAL_ROOT_OBJECT.CO_EMPLOYEE_SELF_SERVICE.KSU_STUDENT_SUCCESS.KSU_SS_PFC_STUDENT_CENTER&IsFolder=false&IgnoreParamTempl=FolderPath%2cIsFolder

 

Now that you’ve filled out your calendar with important financial dates, you can continue to study with a peace of mind. If you ever have any questions or financial issues you need help solving, I recommend schedule a free and confidential appointment with Powercat Financial! Any peer counselor would love to help you out.

Happy studying!

 

Allison Becker

Peer Counselor III

Powercat Financial

www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial

5 Ways to Avoid Going Broke for Spring Break

You’re halfway through the semester and have probably day dreamed about going on your spring break trip a million times. But have you considered all of the financial effects it could have? We’re guessing you probably don’t love the thought of all of your money leaving your bank account just for a week of fun.

 

Thankfully, we know 5 ways that can help you enjoy your spring break stress-free and without breaking the bank!

 

Create a trip budget.

When you don’t save and just expect to use a credit card on your trip, you don’t realize how quickly the charges pile up. Create a trip budget where you initially do a monthly budget and include an expense of saving for the trip. This amount will be the total amount more needed for the trip divided by the remaining months (6 to go!) until the trip. Then, you can work through what money you saved and allocate it to the expenses of your trip. By doing a budget, you’ll know that you can actually afford the trip and don’t have to worry about the credit card balance afterwards!

 

Eat out twice a day (maximum).

Trying new foods when going on a trip is essentially a must. However, it could get really expensive to pay for 21 restaurant meals for a whole week. Instead, visit a grocery store when you arrive at your destination and buy a few staple items like milk, cereal, and sandwich ingredients. Eat from your grocery items for one meal a day and your restaurant bill won’t be as high or intimidating!

 

Forget FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

We are all familiar with the horrible FOMO feeling after going on Instagram and seeing our friends’ luxurious vacation pictures. We sometimes tell ourselves that we need to do something just as big or even more adventurous. This isn’t the right mentality. Don’t let yourself become broke just to compete with friends on social media. Just focus on your own happiness and having a good time on your trip, not anyone else’s.

 

Take a staycation.

Going along with our third point, you shouldn’t let the fear of missing out deter you from taking a staycation. A staycation means staying in your local area instead of traveling domestically or internationally. Some benefits include easy planning, little to no travel costs, no time lost traveling, no travel stress, and many more! If your budget is a little tight and you’re looking for an inexpensive, relaxing way to spend spring break, a staycation is a great alternative.

 

Attend our It’s Spring Break, NOT Spring Broke Workshop

Powercat Financial will be hosting its Spring Break, NOT Spring Broke Workshop in March. You’ll play games, learn even more ways on how to save money over spring break, receive free financial information and even win prizes!

 

If you have questions about how you are going to get started on creating a trip budget, schedule an appointment with Powercat Financial at www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial.

Princess Moran

Graduate Assistant and Peer Financial Counselor I

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