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JEFF SOMERS: Don’t marry your wedding day plans

Jeff Somers
Jeff Somers - Contributed

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - You and your partner have spent months planning the perfect wedding. But there’s at least a chance it won’t be – perfect, that is.

Realities often necessitate alterations to even the most detailed plans -- especially when it comes to grand plans for a wedding day.

Murphy’s Law has it that “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” That definitely applies to weddings.

A server drops your wedding cake and instead of cutting it, you end up having to scrape it off the floor; the groomsman is late for the ceremony because his car broke down; your beautiful garden wedding is forced indoors by a sudden rain storm; on the dance floor, a guest steps on the train of your very expensive wedding dress – rip! Ouch!

As your wedding day edges ever closer, you have probably worried that calamities like these and a dozen more conjured up by pre-wedding panic could render your perfectly planned wedding … imperfect.

But the key to a happy wedding day is this: Don’t marry your grand plan. Focus on the celebration and your marriage.

If something happens … it happens. And maybe it’ll end up being one of the best memories from your most memorable day.

Still, you have done the right thing – because you do need a plan that should include a wedding budget you can comfortably afford that won’t leave you saddled with debt, and the honeymoon of your dreams at a cost that won’t cause recurring nightmares.

And plan beyond your wedding, too. Begin with the everyday basics, such as who will manage day-to-day finances — pay the bills and so on — and who will manage your overall financial affairs.

Decide if it’s best to maintain separate bank accounts, credit cards and investments or to merge some or all of these to eliminate duplication and enhance financial benefits.

Each of you should disclose assets, financial commitments (such as loans) and credit history. If either of you will be bringing personal assets to the union — a car or home, for example — decide whether to keep them or sell them.

Make all your decisions with a clear understanding of the tax and legal implications, especially if you are bringing significant assets into the marriage.

And speaking of taxes, although couples file separate individual tax returns, you should investigate the many tax-planning strategies that can reduce your total tax bill now and in the future.

Also plan to take advantage of all your deductions and income-splitting opportunities including, where appropriate, pension income-splitting and/or spousal Registered Retirement Savings Plans that can deliver tax savings.

Whether your wedding day is perfect or imperfectly perfect, remember this: Your guests are there to celebrate your union as you start your new life together — and that’s what really counts.

And remember this as well: Protect your togetherness from the unavoidable financial realities of life by developing a shared financial plan.

Your professional advisor can help you build that plan and a strong financial future for all your years together.

Jeff Somers, BA, RRC, CFP works at Investors Group in Charlottetown. This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. and Investors Group Securities Inc. presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own adviser for specific advice about your circumstances.

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