What Happens To Your Finances When You Get Married?
Ready to tie the knot with your significant other? This is a good opportunity to take a look at your finances, and consider how they will be affected after your marriage. The average wedding costs upwards of $20,000. Depending on how much the bride’s father will chip in, and how dedicated you both are to having the wedding of your dreams, the ceremony and reception alone will tap into your savings greatly. For most newlyweds, it’s a small price to pay for the most important day of their lives. But, what happens to the rest of your finances?
According to the Canadian Government, getting married will certainly affect the federal tax you’ll pay. This issue is called a “Spousal Tax Credit,” and the things taken into account will be your yearly income and investments. If your spouse earns a low income, usually between $11,000-$12,000, you could be eligible for a non-refundable tax credit that will help you pay less in income taxes. If you decide to have children, a Family Tax Credit will also become available, which allows you to give a portion of your income to your spouse at a lower income tax bracket. Ask your accountant for more information on these types of tax credits.
If you’re interested in Canadian Government’s website about Couples and Tax Credits, click here.
Your Bank Accounts
Once you’re married, you’ll have the option of opening “joint” bank accounts, the most common types being chequing and tax-free savings accounts. Most couples decide that joint accounts are a better decision than separate accounts, as pooling your finances can become beneficial in the long run, depending on how much income you both make.
You can keep a joint chequing account for the expenses you’ll most likely share, such as your mortgage, utilities, and other necessary purchases like groceries. Note that in most cases, your bank will require you to keep a minimum balance, same as a regular chequing account, usually $5,000. You can also open a joint tax-free savings account, which will gain a higher interest rate the more you deposit into it.
Check out our article on the Pros and Cons of Joint Bank Accounts.
One type of account that you cannot combine with your spouses will be your RRSP. Each of you should have your own account under your name. In the effort of keeping your taxes low at the age of retirement, it can benefit you, in the long run, to keep your incomes relatively similar. If one person in the relationship has a higher retirement income, they can deposit payments into a “spousal” RRSP. One of these will help balance your incomes, as couples with equal income will receive double the tax deductions. This way, the retirement income can be split between both spouses.
With most insurance companies, combining your car, home, and life insurance with your spouse’s will save you some money on the back end, especially if all your policies go through the same company.
For your cars; if you have more than one vehicle in the driveway, it’s possible to get a multi-car discount, which will happen if and when you decide to switch your policy over to your spouse’s, most likely resulting in a better price. From a statistical standpoint, married people have been shown to be better drivers, than say, single people under the age of 25. If you inform your insurance company that you’re married, you will most likely get a better rate. You might even pay less on your second car if you let them know that you’ll be carpooling the majority of the time.
The same goes for your home insurance. Sharing one policy can be very beneficial to your finances. Not only will you be able to save money, but you can also get your personal properties covered under one policy. This means your furniture, jewelry, television, computer, and any such valuables will also be covered in the unfortunate event of a robbery or fire.
Life insurance is an important thing to discuss upon getting married. If you haven’t thought about it, or gravitated towards any policies yet, looking into joint life insurance is a good way to see that not only your spouse but any children you plan on having are protected in the event of untimely death. It’s also better if you start looking into a life insurance policy when you are newly married, young and healthy. This way, your company will likely give you a better, more affordable quote.
Marrying Someone With Debt
For the most part, unless you’ve already co-signed a loan together, it’s your partner’s responsibility to take care of any debt, credit or otherwise, that they’ve acquired over the years. Unless you agree to co-sign for their debt, your spouse’s credit history will have no impact on your own profile. However, if you decide you want to mortgage a house together, a bad credit history could make a significant and negative impact on your rate.
In the event of your spouse’s death, you should not be held liable for any debt that they owe unless you’ve co-signed for it. If you have signed for it, some creditors will try to collect the debt from your estate. If there is no money in the estate, they may try to take it from you or your children. However, if the debt is only under your spouse’s name, the credit lender will be forced to deem the debt as uncollectible. In this case, you will most likely have to provide proof that the debt is unpayable, so seek the help of a professional to help make sure you’re not held liable.
For more information on liability in the event of your spouse’s death, click here.
Can Getting Married Increase Your Chances of Getting a Loan?
Not necessarily. While your financial situation will most likely improve after you get married, getting a mortgage or any other sort of loan will be more difficult if you or your spouse has poor credit or a lot of debt. However, don’t let this discourage you. If you’re both earning a decent income, and manage to get your debt under control, future lenders will take these things into account.
A joint mortgage can be obtained by both married and unmarried couples looking to buy a house. In this case, both spouses are responsible for paying a portion of the mortgage. If your incomes are different, but you’ve recently opened a joint bank account, your combined incomes will aid in getting you a better rate on your mortgage.