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Starting Your Financial Life Together

Things you should do now that you are married.

Nashville, Ark. - Summer, especially June, is a popular time of the year for many couples to say, “I do”. Once the wedding is over, everyday life together begins. In addition to dividing household responsibilities, couples will also need to determine who will pay the bills, track investments, review bank statements and more. Although it’s not necessary to assign each task to one person, it is critical that you develop a system to make sure these tasks get done. Here are some financial items that recently married couples will need to consider.

Financial Checklist for Newlyweds


            Review your beneficiaries – Go through each of your accounts – including retirement plans and insurance – and ensure that the beneficiaries listed are still accurate. If you would like for your spouse to receive the funds from your accounts in the event of your death, you will need to make them the beneficiary.

            Revisit your insurance – Upon getting married, it’s important to sit down and review both of your medical, life and car insurance plans. Review whether your coverage overlaps in certain areas, or whether you could be saving money by combining coverage.

            Changing your name – If you change your name upon marrying – to your spouse’s last name or to a hyphenated name – it’s important that you notify certain organizations of the change. You should notify the Social Security Administration immediately to ensure that your retirement account is properly credited, and also to request a new Social Security card. Change your name on all important documents and accounts. And remember to change your name on your driver’s license, which serves as the primary form of identification for most Americans.

            Develop a budget – Whether you already have individual budgets and want to combine them or you are new to budgeting, marriage marks an important time to sit down and create a plan for your spending and savings. Your new budget should reflect your shared living situation and both of your incomes and expenses.

            Prenuptial agreements – A prenuptial agreement outlines how assets will be divided in the event that the marriage ends. While some people consider prenuptial agreements to be unromantic or to represent a lack of faith, others fell they can ensure some security for both partners and help them know what to expect in the event the marriage ends.

            It may be wise to develop a prenuptial agreement if either spouse has:

  • Wealth to preserve
  • Children from a previous marriage
  • Ownership of a company
  • An expected inheritance or other assets
  • Ongoing family-related financial obligations
  • A much higher income than the other partner

            Research has shown that agreeing on how to spend money is the thing that most separates happy couples. There are many factors that influence how we spend or save money. Working these out before marriage can save lots of headache later on.

            The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service has a wonderful program designed for newlyweds or any couple (no matter how many anniversaries you’ve shared) help them better understand their finances. The program, “Financial Smart Start for Newlyweds” fact sheet series contains units in the following areas:

  • Understanding and Sharing Your Financial History
  • Debt in Marriage
  • Realistic Expectations About Expenses and Income
  • Creating and Sticking to a Budget
  • Credit and Overspending
  • Money, Manipulation and Power

            All of these fact sheets are available at no charge. To receive your free copy, visit the Howard County Extension Office located on the second floor of the courthouse or pick up a gift bag at the Howard County Clerk’s office when you apply for your marriage license.

            Source: Practical Money Skills for Life e-newsletter series, and Financial Smart Start for Newlyweds program.

Recipe of the Week

            Looking for special treat to cool off on a hot summer day? These kid friendly pops are just the thing. Try them as a healthy snack or for dessert! Banana, Cocoa and Yogurt are the perfect combination for a frozen treat! Let your children help make this recipe.

Banana, Cocoa, Yogurt Pops

  • 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

  • 1 medium banana

  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder

  • Paper cups

  • Popsicle sticks

  1.  Mash banana with a fork.
  2. Mix banana and yogurt well.
  3. Stir in cocoa powder.
  4. Divide into four small paper cups (or 8 mini muffin cups).
  5. Place a popsicle stick in the center of each.
  6. Freeze until firm. Enjoy!

Nutrition information per serving: 79 calories, 1g fat, 41 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein


Print this recipe for Banana Cocoa Yogurt Pops



By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.