Single to married, married to divorced, or married to widowed – a shift in your marital status brings about major changes in your life. This includes your finances, and you may need advice on your investment accounts, insurance, tax planning, family trusts and estate planning.
Some financial changes are common to almost any shift in marital status. You might need to update your will, as well as any beneficiaries on your insurance policy, pension plan and registered plan. However, no two lives are exactly the same, so be sure to consult your advisor to make financial planning changes that are unique to you.
Getting married these days often means combining two incomes, which opens you to new financial opportunities, like buying property. But if you only have one primary income earner, that person may require health and life insurance to protect the standard of living of the other spouse.
Another significant change involves tax planning. You can save on current and future taxes through income-splitting strategies such as RRSPs, non-registered investments or even by hiring your spouse. Also, when filing income tax returns, you can combine certain tax credits for one spouse to claim, and transfer unused credits to the other.
If you are dealing with a divorce, you will likely encounter a financial situation you have never faced before. You may need to manage the effects of paying or receiving a lump sum settlement, or – if children are involved – determine if the spouse with primary custody can remain in the family home.
If you are a single parent, getting disability insurance and critical illness insurance is vital so you can continue to support your children in case an illness or injury prevents you from working.
If you are single without children, you might be facing a more psychological challenge. Some single people pay less attention to financial planning because they feel they have fewer financial obligations. But without a partner to share the financial responsibilities, you have fewer opportunities and assurances, such as tax saving through income splitting. Speak to your advisor to build a comprehensive financial plan that caters to your new circumstances.
Remarried with a blended family
When it comes to blended families and wealth management issues, communicating well and determining what is fair are key – whether you are equalizing education savings or updating insurance coverage.
One area to look at is estate planning. For example, you might want to provide for your current spouse but also leave a legacy for your children from your first marriage. A common solution is a spousal trust. After the individual’s death, the spouse receives income for life, and when the spouse passes away, the children receive assets of the trust.
A surviving spouse often faces the sudden situation of being solely responsible for generating income, paying expenses and even possibly receiving a large sum of money from investment funds, life insurance proceeds, or both. Also, if their late spouse was the one who took care of most of the finances, the surviving spouse may now feel lost and overwhelmed.
Talk to your advisor if your marital status changes. Their financial planning expertise will ease the transition and guide you to the next chapter of your life.