We all have points in our lives where it seems like we’re on the verge of a new chapter. For some, it might be a career change. For others, a new baby. Whatever transitions you’re personally facing, know this:
1) You are not alone.
2) Planning is key!
We asked three members of our women’s initiative group, InspireHer, about major transition points many of us encounter. Jessie, Sara and Jamie were kind enough to share their wisdom and advice on everything from financial planning to dealing with the pressure of being a new mom.
Our hope is that their stories will help save you time, money and stress in similar transitions—so you can focus on the excitement of your next chapter.
Getting Married: (Over)-Communication is Key.
Jessie Weiss, MBA, CFP®, AIF®, Wealth Manager
What was hardest about getting married, and what resources did you use to make it easier?
Planning a wedding involved a lot of decision making, and it caused me a terrible amount of stress. Looking back, I wish I would have focused my energy on making decisions about the things that really mattered most to me: flowers, my dress, the invitations and the beer served. My sister hired a wedding planner for her wedding, and I remember thinking, “Wow, that was the smartest idea ever.”
What piece of advice would you give women who are now approaching the “getting married”’ phase in their lives?
Do not let social “norms” pressure you into marriage. You will know when it is the right time for you, and you don’t want to marry the wrong person just because you are a certain age and all your friends are getting married. It is 100% worth waiting for the right person, and the timing will work itself out.
What was unexpected or surprising about getting married?
I did not think about changing my beneficiary designations on my accounts right away. I had my sister receiving my 401(k) and my group life insurance benefits three years into my marriage. My husband had his brother!
What is the best financial decision you made?
To put in the maximum amount of money from my paycheck that I could afford into my employer’s retirement plan. I kept increasing the amount each year until I finally was able to reach the maximum deferral that the plan allowed. It is hard to spend money that you don’t receive – I eventually have learned to not count on that money and it is never an option to stop contributing to the retirement plan.
What has getting married taught you about money?
There is no such thing as over-communication. If you have frequent, open conversations about money and finances it should drastically reduce the probability of arguments surrounding money and finances.
Try not to play the blame game of “well we could go on this vacation (have this experience) if you didn’t buy XYZ or spend money on XYZ.” You are both in this together and should have been communicating about those previous purchases and saving for the vacation/experience you wanted to have.
You must talk about money, both before you are married and after. Before we got married we both shared with one another what accounts we had, why we had them, how they came to be and where they were held. We discussed the legal issues with combining or not combining accounts after marriage. We made financial decisions together.
What people/situations did you see in your life that shaped the way you saw getting married and how closely did you stay to this model after you experienced it for yourself?
Nearly every Sunday evening my mom would go into my dad’s office and they would go over the calendar for the upcoming week. My bedroom shared a wall with my dad’s office. I could hear them planning, communicating, laughing and enjoying one another’s company even over such a mundane task as reviewing calendars and schedules. My husband and I now review our calendars together every Sunday evening too.
My dad also had my mom on a clothing budget and he would review this with her monthly. This is one thing I have not carried over into my marriage!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Did I mention communication is the key to a successful marriage yet? I am so lucky to be married to my amazing husband, Joe. Without him I wouldn’t have been able to answer any of these questions!