For some, summer isn’t simply about boating on the lake and seeking thrills at Cedar Point. Summer is also the busiest time when “life happens”. Life changes can happen at any time and being prepared is important! Caught up in the excitement of major life changes, many people can overlook the more practical aspects of planning for marriage, buying a home, or having a child. With a little bit of knowledge and planning, these life events can be even more enjoyable and ultimately less stressful.
Getting married is an exciting time, with most marriages happening from May through September. However, people often focus on the big day without giving much thought to the days after. Understanding each other’s finances is probably one of the most important subjects before your nuptials. Agreeing on a budget, savings goals, how to pay debts and whether or not to open a joint account are a few of the topics couples should discuss. Many couples choose to open joint accounts to take care of all their needs together while others keep their individual accounts and divide bills accordingly. Figuring out what works best for your relationship is essential to avoiding tension and conflict early on. Being aware of your spouse’s credit is often overlooked as well. Finances are a top reason for divorce, with Cleveland being ranked second in divorce rates in the nation during the recession. Discussing each other’s credit score, collection items or debts helps prevent surprises later on.
Matrimony also brings more responsibility. Having proper life insurance, updating beneficiary information on policies and deciding on health insurance are necessary after saying your vows.
Purchasing a Home
Summer is the season of home buying, as people are using their tax returns for down payments or closing costs, trying to minimize the impact to school aged children, and taking advantage of the good weather. However, purchasing a home can easily become an extremely stressful life event. If you are considering buying a home within a few years, there are things you can do ahead of time to help the process go smoothly.
Keep good records of your financial history, especially in the months leading up to applying for a mortgage. Lenders will want to know details about larger transactions as well as any debts you may have. Having a strong understanding of your financials will help you determine your budget for a home too.
Saving for a down payment or any immediate repairs to your new home should not be underestimated. It’s a good idea to start setting money aside well before you start your home search. The down payment can determine the type of mortgage loan you have, affect extra costs to your loan, such as Private Mortgage Insurance, and even influence the interest rate.
Keep tabs on your credit while you’re saving for a home. You can pull your credit report once a year without consequence or cost. Make sure there are no outstanding credit cards, medical bills or other items on your report that can cause major problems when financing a home. Checking your report annually can also give you peace of mind against fraud.
Keep in mind, because summer is the busiest month in the home buying market, the best time to get a good deal is during the winter.
Growing Your Family
Getting ready for a new baby is more than just painting the nursery. Although September is the number one month for births in the U.S., August, June and July follow closely behind. There are many things you should consider before and after your new arrival this summer.
Calling your health insurance provider is a good place to start. Find out what your coverage is for prenatal care, the birth and hospital stay. That way you can be prepared for any out of pocket costs. Plus, many insurance companies offer various programs and resources for expecting parents.
Many people don’t consider purchasing life insurance or creating a will until they have children, so it’s imperative to take care of both to make sure your child will be protected. If you already have life insurance policies, evaluate them to make sure they will be adequate now that your family will be bigger.
Bridge Credit Union offers a free financial checkup that you can use as part of your “when life happens” planning. Call us at 800434.7300 and we’ll be happy to assist you.