Blending Families, Blending Finances. Who’s Your Beneficiary

All couples should have [a] talk [about] finances before they get married. But it’s especially important to cover all the bases when the union involves two previously established households with children and other complications, such as parents who may need financial or physical support as they age, or ex-spouses still in the financial picture.

You might say a family is simply greater than the sum of its parts. This calculus is no less true for a blended family, than for a traditional family. On the other hand, there are so many more parts, moving pieces, and (with childhood Christmas presents coming to mind) possible choking hazards.

Blended families, however loving, oftentimes have more than a few things to address when it comes to financial and estate planning.

Indeed, the challenges faced by the blended family are frequently discussed in professional financial and legal circles. In part, this is because blended families are the new normal. If your family is “blended,” then it is only prudent to consider any tips regarding common challenges you may face.

In that spirit, you will want to read a recent article from Daily Finance titled “Blended-Family Finance: Tips Every Modern ‘Brady Bunch’ Should Consider.

[Food for thought: we are coming up on 50 years since the Brady Bunch debut, and we are still learning family lessons from that show.]

While so much of “blended family” planning depends on your own unique blended family, it never hurts to learn from the experiences of others similarly situated. Here are some of the lessons gleaned and shared in the article:

  • Agree on roles and responsibilities.
  • Discuss your philosophies on saving, spending and investing.
  • Establish some mutual financial goals.
  • Protect your future.

In addition, you will want to read the pointers shared in the article when it comes to “taxes and estate planning.”  Remember it is imperative to discuss changing the beneficiary to your 401k, insurance policies, annuities and other financial instruments so that the “ex” doesn’t end up with these parts of your estate instead of your current spouse.

In the end, the only way to have a successful blended family is to plan appropriately once you are all in.

Reference: Daily Finance (November 5, 2013) “Blended-Family Finance: Tips Every Modern ‘Brady Bunch’ Should Consider

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