The engagement ring is on your finger and you've selected a wedding date—all you need is a good wedding planner, right? Don't be so sure. While the details of your big day are obviously important, so are your finances. As a married couple, you'll be facing new money issues together, and that's where having a financial planner in your corner can be a huge help.
What is a financial planner?
A financial planner is a professional that helps people reach their long-term financial goals and understand all of their options when it comes to debt, investments, and retirement. According to Mitchell Hockenbury, a certified financial planner, visiting one ahead of your wedding is important for your relationship's health. "This allows you to begin the marriage with honesty," he said. "I have seen far too many marriages begin with financial mistakes hidden away." Meeting with a planner helps get all of the information out in the open, and allows you to honestly discuss your financial hopes and dreams. If you have debt—such as student loans or credit card debt—a financial planner can help you understand just how serious the situation is, and what you can do to fix the problem as a couple.
What can a financial planner can do for you?
Financial planners don't just deal with your long-term plans, like your retirement goals. They can also help you come up with a plan for right now, especially when it comes to wedding expenses. "Meeting with a financial planner allows the two of you to set a spending plan for the wedding," said Hockenbury. "The planner can set realistic expectations of overruns and help with flexibility to the plan." As an objective third-party, the financial planner can help you see how realistic your budget is, what can be cut, and what sacrifices you'd need to make to afford your dream celebration. They can also help you come up with a plan for after the wedding, like developing a timeline to buy a home together.
How much does a financial planner cost?
According to Hockenbury, the price associated with hiring a financial planner can range anywhere from $500 to a few thousand depending on your situation. "I think you should look for an hourly, certified Financial Planner because they are only selling their time and expertise," he said. Although it's expensive, it's a worthwhile investment in your marriage as this professional can help prevent a whole host of problems from developing and help you build a stable future.
How do you find a financial planner?
When shopping for a financial planner, look for a fee-based professional rather than someone who charges commissions. That way, you know you'll pay a simple, flat rate and get unbiased advice.