Entering into a first marriage, finances are usually relatively simple. However, leaving that marriage and going into another one can get complicated. Here are some considerations teachers need to be aware of as they figure out second marriage finances.
You may want a pre-nuptial agreement (pre-nup).
A pre-nup is a legal contract that stipulates various terms of situations that may arise in marriage and divorce. For example, some couples may determine that any assets that were in place prior to the marriage are not to be included in any divorce proceedings. There can also be non-financial implications to a pre-nup as well, such as details about children.
While you may be finished with your first marriage and everything is buttoned up, the truth is that many second marriages also end in divorce. Varying statistics are available, but anywhere from 30-60% of second marriages will not make it until “death do us part”. To protect you, and any children from a prior marriage, opt to put a prenuptial agreement in place.
Have the “money conversation” all over again with your new spouse.
The rules of money will change as you go into a second marriage. For example, your first spouse gave $50 to everyone on their birthday, while your new spouse wants to give gifts. Your first spouse didn’t come from money so hoarded it, while your new spouse spends freely. Just as you had these conversations with your first spouse, you need to have them all over again with your new one.
Understand your pension may be less given the settlement of your first marriage; plan accordingly.
Moving on to teacher-specific items—depending on the terms of your divorce, you may have had to split part of your pension with your old spouse. This needs to be taken into consideration when planning your new financial future. Do you need to work longer to make up the gap? Or will the financial situation of your new partner mitigate that? If you don’t plan on working longer, do you need to be saving more? If so, where is the best place to do that?
Review group insurance benefits—sometimes it will save you money to be on one plan, but not all the time.
Just as new money conversations need to be had, a thorough comparison of your new spouse’s group plans should be done. Take a look at their group insurance and determine two things. How does it rank based on yours, and what does it cost? If it is a better plan, then you may want to join their plan as their spouse. Before making that move, determine what the change in premiums and coverage would be, and understand if it’s worth it. If you’re moving from a “free because you’re single” plan, to a deluxe family plan, the increase in benefits may not be worth the increase in premiums.
Alimony and child support need to become budget items.
Divorce is expensive—not only going through the process but also paying for it in the future. Understand what obligations your new spouse has coming into a new marriage. Additionally, lay out what you have coming over from your previous marriage. You may find that the largest budget items you have are alimony and child support. It’s important to understand if your spouse has lifelong commitments to alimony or if these disappear in a certain time or event period (e.g. re-marriage). While it can’t be changed, being open and upfront with your financial reality is crucial.
Change beneficiaries on pension, insurance policies and retirement accounts.
One thing that gets neglected is “who gets what”. Stories have arisen in the financial media where new spouses haven’t updated estate plans, or beneficiary records, and their new spouse and family gets nothing should they pass away—it all went to the old spouse. While you may want some policies to go to children from a prior marriage, being deliberate in reviewing all of your beneficiary and estate documents is essential. By having money you’ve worked hard for providing care for someone you no longer care for is a legacy that I don’t think anyone wants to leave.
Do you have any advice for teachers handling second marriage finances? Please share in the comments.