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Getting married offers a host of reasons to celebrate. You’re making the official commitment to spend the rest of your life with the one you love, after all. And even if you’ve been living as a couple for ten days or ten years, there are still some surprising marriage changes in store for you both. You might already be prepared for the name change or excited about finding a new home to buy together. But there are other shifts that occur after you exchange “I do’s.” Here are a few post-wedding things that might have slipped your mind but for which you should be prepared.

Surprising Marriage Changes at the Relationship Level

You and your fiancé might already have your relationship ideals ironed out, and maybe you feel you’ve been together long enough to know what to expect. But there could be some surprising marriage changes you both forgot to discuss.

Holidays with the Families
Now might be the right time of year to discuss the holidays. Where you go for Thanksgiving as a couple might change, for example. How you once divided up family time over the holidays can quickly become more of a negotiation, especially if children are in your present or future plans. It’s important to not only anticipate changes in how you celebrate with each other’s families in the years to come, but also discuss it now. Knowing how the other feels, in terms of visiting family members, inviting everyone together, or selecting a rotation can be cause for a disagreement down the road.

How You Spend Your Free Time
For many couples who are already married, one change they say came as a surprise, is how free time is spent. When you’re single, your free time belongs to you and is usually spent doing what you like. You might enjoy afternoon naps or getting together with friends for a friendly game of poker once a month. But once you’re married, you may find free time becoming more of a negotiation. What used to bring you joy as an individual might now be a journey with your spouse. In some scenarios, you may want to give up some of your free time. As with any relationship discussion, it’s best to talk about free time expectations before you get married.

Sense of Security & Stability
Another surprising marriage change you might not expect is one that most couples say is one of the most rewarding. Once you’re married, you may be washed over with a renewed sense of security and stability. Officially tying the knot means you both agree to face the challenges of life as a unit. You no longer have to face moves, job changes, or family activities on your own. Just knowing you have an ally in life’s adventures can be a welcome surprise after you walk down the aisle.

Changes to Your Finances After You Get Married

Another set of surprising marriage changes you should expect will have an impact on your finances. As you know, joining forces means handling purchases and expenses together now. And it also implies taking a closer look at spending habits and financial burdens you both may be bringing into the marriage too.

Household Expenses Increase
You might not be thinking about trips to the store right now. You’re excited about your special day, of course. But incidental spending will change once you’re a conjoined union. After all, you’ll soon be buying toothpaste and shampoo for two. Most routine purchases will only represent small amounts, but trips to the local store can add up fast if you’re not careful. Consider sitting down to review what necessities you each require monthly and carve out a budget for yourselves as a couple.

Combining Individual Debts
Beware of the burdensome student loans, poorly managed credit card debts, and mediocre credit scores. Combining assets with your soon-to-be spouse may translate to taking on new and surprising debts, too. It is encouraged that you be honest with your fiancé and discuss any foreboding obligations that might affect your financial efforts as a couple. Avoid being surprised and finding yourselves in an impossible position with money.

Managing the Personal Spending Habits of Two
Whether you’re a budget-savvy economist or a free-for-all spender, you can certainly expect your monthly expenses to change once you’re married. You used to be able to make purchasing decisions on your own, that in the end would only affect you. But once you’re married, your buying habits can have lasting effects on both of you. Overextending credit or impulse buying large ticket items can be damaging to your credit scores. If you and your spouse have future dreams to buy a new home, for example, you’ll want to work together to keep spending habits in check.

Official Business Changes to Expect Once You’re Married

There are some official business matters that you’ll want to tend to after you exchange vows. Some you may already be prepared for, like effecting name changes on driver’s licenses and social security cards. But there could be a few official business boxes to add to the list. And you don’t want them to catch you by surprise.

Merging Accounts
Not all couples agree to merge accounts right away, or some at all. But it’s worth discussing as there is a full roster of potential joint ventures that can offer more benefits than individual ones. For example, some banking institutions offer cash incentives for new accounts. Perhaps you and your soon-to-be spouse want to open a joint savings account. Some credit cards provide benefits for multiple cardholders on one account, making it lucrative to share a credit line together. Be mindful of any hidden fees before jumping in on any new accounts together, and explore the potential rewards being a couple might offer.

Updating Beneficiary Information
Another surprising marriage change that might not be top of mind right now is updating your emergency contact and beneficiary information. Your healthcare providers and employers are great first calls to make. Once you’re married, you’ll want to authorize your spouse to be notified of health emergencies. And in the event you have benefits through your employer, you may need to update beneficiary information to include your new spouse.

Exploring Joint Insurance Options
Once married, you could be eligible for insurance premium reductions and increased benefits. Getting married can be a qualifying life event, allowing for changes to plan selections. Planning for each other’s health and well-being means making sensible insurance product choices that meet your needs. Consider sitting down to discuss your current preventive care screenings and then find a plan that fits best. You’ll also want to be smart about finding plans that can grow with you in the years to come. And it’s important to act fast, or pre-plan, as your window to make changes is only 60 days from your qualifying event date.

If you’re getting married soon, don’t be caught off guard by any of these surprises. Plan ahead and discuss everything together to find your ideal solutions moving forward. And when you’re ready to explore your health insurance options and calculate your savings, you can browse with us!

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