Tips for Merging Finances after Marriage

As the month of love, February is a great reminder of how special love can be, no matter the form it takes in life. One of the most exciting forms for love is marriage, which is exciting but can also bring with it some challenges. 

Joining lives with someone typically requires some changes, especially when it comes to merging and managing finances. Financial decisions can directly impact your future together, so creating a thoughtful plan and communicating well about finances is key. In honor of the month of love, we’re sharing some tips for how to successfully merge your finances and insurance after marriage. 

Discuss Goals

Sharing goals is the first step in planning a solid financial future. Start with a list of goals, both short-term and long-term. After establishing a list of goals, decide which items are most important to both of you. When you’ve set priorities on goals, then you can focus on accomplishing them. 

Prepare a Budget

Next, set a reasonable budget together. Start by identifying required expenses and then give yourself an amount for unplanned expenses. If your expenses are exceeding your income, determine where you can cut back. Decide how you want to approach managing your finances. If both people want to be involved, be sure to use a system that works for both parties.

Decide on Accounts

You’ll have to decide whether to combine bank accounts or keep them separate. Weigh the pros and cons of each and consider what will work best. A joint account is beneficial in easily keeping records and lower maintenance fees. Separate accounts may be more beneficial in keeping track of how much money is in the account at all times, as just one person is withdrawing. 

Consider Your Debt

If you’re considering adding your name to your spouse’s credit accounts, think thoroughly. Joint credit means both parties are responsible for the debt and it can negatively impact the credit rating if one person has poor credit. Additionally, make sure to consider any debt, either from student loans or elsewhere, when planning your joint budget. 

Combine Insurance

You and your spouse likely already have your own insurance coming into the marriage, whether it be auto, life, etc. You’ll want to examine both policies and decide if it will be more beneficial for you to keep separate policies or get on the same plan. Bundling multiple cars with one insurance provider may make you eligible for discounts and can make managing policies easier. 

As you work through this new chapter in life, consider visiting with a financial adviser to help you along the way. If you’re an OKFB member, your member benefits provide you with multiple insurance and financial services. Contact an agent to receive guidance through merging insurance, or use the banking and financial services from Farm Bureau Bank. 

New Year Annual Insurance Review

As you kick off the new year, one resolution should be to ensure you have the proper insurance protection for the year ahead. Policyholders often treat insurance as something to simply check off and forget about. However, your policies are more valuable than that.

Your policies are protecting you through miles on the road, unpredictable tornado seasons and all of life’s ups and downs. They require updates regularly to adapt to the changes in your life. What better time for this than at the beginning of the year? An annual insurance review will help ensure your policies are up-to-date and provide the protection you need. It can also uncover discounts that you may be eligible for. 

Check out this list of common changes that could require an adjustment to any one of your insurance policies. Talk to your agent to schedule your annual insurance review today: 

  1. You may need to update your Auto policy if you’re driving significantly more or less than you were in previous years, if your vehicle is aging or if you have passed it down to a child.
  2. Consider updating your Home policy if you added high dollar personal property to your home inventory, if you installed a pool, if you completed home improvements or added on to your home size.  
  3. You may need to update your Life policy if you added or lost members of your family recently, if you experienced changes in your health, if you changed jobs or your family’s cost of living increased or decreased. 
  4. Consider updating your Farm & Ranch policy if you expanded operations or added new equipment, if you’re using certain machinery or vehicles more often than usual or if you’ve increased your livestock inventory.

If something has changed in your life over the past year that isn’t reflected in your current policies, talk to your OKFB agent today to schedule an annual insurance review. Life changes fast, this annual review will help make sure your insurance keeps up. 

What to do when you lose a loved one

The loss of a loved one can be hard to bear. Even more so when you think about all the steps that follow for planning a funeral and getting financial and insurance affairs in order. When you’re ready, check out this checklist of items that may require action. 

Obtain a death certificate 

Obtaining a death certificate is a critical first step. It will allow you to complete many of the following steps. The funeral home you’re working with can get certified copies on your behalf. You can also contact your state office that specializes in vital records.

Update policies

If the deceased had life insurance, you’ll need to contact the insurance company and present a death certificate in order to enact the benefits. You’ll also want to let the company know to either remove their name from existing policies or get rid of the policies entirely. This step may require updating your own policies, if the loved one was listed under them. 

Notify the right people 

Certain institutions need to be aware of the passing, especially government agencies and credit agencies. Check with the social security administration to ensure they are aware of your loved one’s passing. You should also notify any other agencies that provided a benefit to your loved one, like Medicare, Veterans Affairs, etc. To help prevent identity theft, contact the major credit agencies including Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You’ll need to present the death certificate to these institutions. Lastly, the Department of Motor Vehicles can cancel their license and voter registration, and the post office can help determine where to forward their mail. 

Prepare your own accounts

There is no greater wake-up call than the loss of a loved one. This life event may make you think about your own family, and the benefits or burdens that will come to them upon your end of life. You can help ensure they are financially prepared by adding or adjusting your own life insurance policy. No matter your age or health condition, it is always a good idea to have life insurance. It is also important to have some form of written will, as a way to ensure your loved ones receive your assets. 

Having someone to support you through this process will make it much easier. For insurance and financial advice, contact your trusted agent to help get you through this difficult season of life. 

Celebrate Insurance Awareness Day: Learn About Life Insurance

No person’s life is the exact same as someone else’s, so why should your life insurance be? You can and should have a life insurance policy tailored to your unique needs. To celebrate National Insurance Awareness Day this year, we are sharing information about the different types of life insurance policies and which policy may fit your lifestyle best.

First, Why Life Insurance?

Life insurance can serve as a safety net for you and your loved ones. It may bring you peace of mind knowing your family’s financial future is protected if anything were to happen to you. A life insurance policy could help your family continue to pay for things, like the mortgage. We offer three categories of life insurance policies: term life insurance, whole life insurance and universal life insurance.

Term Life Insurance

One of the most affordable life insurance options, term life policies protect your family or business for a set amount of time or for a set “term.” Coverage ends when the term ends or until you choose to convert to a different life policy. These are recommended for those just starting out, whether raising a family or building a business. You can read more on the different types of term life insurance policies we offer here.

Whole Life Insurance

This coverage, named for its length of protection, provides permanent coverage for your entire life. This policy will give your family protection upon your death and access to the accumulated cash value while you’re alive. Our Whole Life product can give you and your family lifetime protection.

Universal Life Insurance

Life can take some unexpected turns, so having flexibility is invaluable. Universal policies allow this flexibility when things may not go as planned. It is a form of whole life insurance that provides lifetime coverage, while also allowing you to adjust things in your policy along the way, like premium payments and death benefits. Our Universal Policy is a great way to make sure you can adjust your life insurance policy when life throws you a curveball.

Try Our Life Insurance Calculator

Our life insurance calculator can help you understand the amount of coverage that is right for you! Learn more about the right life insurance coverage for your unique needs by contacting an OKFB Insurance agent near you.