As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge settle into married life, they may manage many of the same financial issues that any other newlyweds face with a new union. So, what if William and Kate got married in the United States instead? What financial advice might they receive that soon-to-be brides and grooms might also heed?
Get a prenuptial agreement. Since William and Kate had their own high net worth and social status prior to marriage, a prenuptial agreement would be advised.
Discuss estate planning. William and Kate should consider updating the beneficiaries on their insurance policies and retirement plans to name their spouse as primary beneficiary. They should also update documents such as a living wills or durable power of attorney. Further, the couple may consider transferring title of any property into joint ownership.
Create joint accounts. The married couple must decide if they will create joint financial accounts or choose to keep their finances separately, or determine which accounts they might merge.
Plan a household budget. Like any other newly married couple, William and Kate must determine their spending habits and attitude toward money, and begin to operate their household budget. They will also need to determine how their will handle debts – will they work together as a couple to pay down debts they incur?
Discuss finances honestly. Couples shouldn’t have financial secrets. William and Kate should review their individual credit reports and clear up any blemishes before they pursue future financial goals.
Determine financial goals. Although William and Kate have their own careers, they’ll need to begin thinking about their mutual future goals. Will they purchase a new palace? Consider having children? Change jobs? Their decisions about these personal goals will influence their financial goals and planning.
Do tax planning. William and Kate may need to review their employment tax withholding levels and adjust them based on their newly married status. They should also consider the tax advantages of filing their federal tax return as a married filing jointly or married filing separately. And finally, they may consider making changes to their retirement contributions. They might consider making additional contributions to an individual IRA or increase the amount deducted into their employer 401(k) program.
Set up payroll and employment taxes for employees. If William and Kate hire employees such as a housekeeper, personal assistant, groundskeeper, chef or nanny, they’ll need to set up their employee payroll and collect and properly report employment taxes.
Get a trusted financial advisor. If William and Kate don’t have an accounting professional, they should interview potential advisors to find one they both trust.
Even if you don’t have royalty in your family tree, you and your soon-to-be spouse should consider several financial issues. By working through these considerations before your big day, you’ll be further on your way to the fairy-tale “happily ever after” marriage.