PHASE SEVEN: “Goin’ to the Chapel...”

Congratulations! You’ve found a loving partner with whom to share your life – and your finances! Knowing how to integrate a spouse into your financial affairs doesn’t have to be complicated if you know the facts. Read on to learn more.

1) More Benefits

When you marry, you may be entitled to additional benefits you did not have when you were single.

  • Basic allowance for housing after marriage is payable at the with-dependents rate, a significantly higher rate.
  • Family separation allowance is now payable when situations allow.
  • Education benefits may be transferred to spouses and/or dependents. Check with your personnel office for a list of additional benefits to which you may be entitled based on your personal situation.

2) Beneficiaries

A beneficiary may be an individual, institution, trustee, or estate, which receives or may become eligible to receive benefits under a will, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, trust, or other contract. By naming a beneficiary, you are legally authorizing benefits to flow from you to any of the aforementioned entities. When you marry, have children, or divorce, you should review your beneficiary designations. It’s important to be very specific when naming a beneficiary—check local legalities for any restrictions.

3) Insurance Reevaluation

Be sure to reevaluate your insurance needs when you get married – especially your life insurance. If you are the primary breadwinner, or just important enough that your sudden hospitalization and/or death could leave your spouse unable to pay the bills, you'll want to establish a life insurance policy with your spouse in mind. Factor in monthly expenses and joint income when choosing a policy. You may have not only your spouse, but children to consider as well.

There are three types of life insurance:

  1. Term: Term insurance is a type of low-cost, life insurance that only pays benefits if the insured dies during the specified period of time. Term life insurance does not build cash value. SGLI and VGLI are examples of term insurance.
  2. Permanent: Permanent insurance such as whole life, universal life, and variable universal life, guarantees coverage at fixed premiums for the lifetime of the covered individual, and builds cash value.
  3. Convertible: Convertible term insurance is coverage that can be converted into permanent insurance regardless of an insured's physical condition and without a medical examination. The individual cannot be denied coverage or charged an additional premium for any health problems. Speak with your insurance broker every few years about your life insurance policy and your changing needs.

4) Legal Documentation

When you marry, things change legally, making it a great time to review your wills, your powers of attorney, your deeds and titles of tangible assets (home, car, etc). Some basic steps to take:

  1. Think about signature cards at the bank, insurance policies, and other documents that your spouse may now need in case something happens to you.
  2. Ensure he or she gets an ID card from the military (unit, post, base).
  3. Discuss any legal documents your spouse has and how those may change.
  4. Consider if surnames will change and/or become hyphenated, and the effects.
  5. Make sure DEERS, the motor vehicle administration, your doctors and dentists and insurance agents all know about the union.

And best wishes!

Go to Phase Eight

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