When you’re a newlywed, the glow of love casts a long shadow – making the ordinary seem extraordinary and everything about being married exciting.
That makes it a great time to make some decisions and take some actions to mark your transition into life as a married couple, before the day-to-day grind takes over.
To change or not to change?
Possibly the biggest thing to consider is whether you will change your name following marriage.
Experts suggest more than 80%,1 of Australian women take their husband’s surname upon marriage, however other options include:
- both men and women keeping their own surnames,
- women using their maiden name professionally but their husband’s name legally
- husbands taking their wife’s surname,
- hyphenating both surnames, or
- creating a new surname altogether.
There are pros and cons to each of these. The ease of having all family members – including any children – with the same surname is a key consideration, while gender equality and women not wanting to risk losing their identity or professional reputation could be reasons behind not changing names.
How to change your name
If you do decide to take your husband or wife’s surname, you’ll need to provide an official certified copy of your marriage certificate to change your name on documents such as your passport and driver’s licence.
You can get a copy of this certificate (which is different to the commemorative certificate of marriage you receive on your wedding day) from the births, deaths and marriages registry in the state where your wedding was held, after your celebrant has registered your marriage.
Name change kits are available which make it easier to notify all relevant government agencies of your change of name, such as Medicare, Centrelink, the Australian Taxation Office, and the Australian Electoral Commission. You’ll also need to notify other businesses and services you have dealings with.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to discuss if you should make any changes to your financial arrangements now you’re a married couple.
Research shows only 21% of Australian couples have a shared savings account and 25% have a joint credit card.2
Whether you manage your money together, keep separate bank accounts, or compromise with a combination of both – the choice is up to the two of you.
With the average age of brides and grooms higher that it was 20 years ago3, more of us are bringing assets along with us when we marry.
If you both own properties you should seek financial advice before making any decisions, as whose property you live in may have capital gains tax implications when it comes to selling, and you might also need to consider whether you retain separate ownership or add your spouse’s name to your property title.
If you don’t have personal insurance, now that you have a spouse to consider it might be time to think about taking out cover.
Types of insurance to consider include life insurance, total and permanent disablement cover, trauma insurance and income protection insurance. You can use our calculator to work out how much insurance you need.
In the event of your death, your super will be paid to a beneficiary of yours. Now that you are married, you may be considering nominating your spouse as your beneficiary. You can change your beneficiary by contacting your super fund.
You may also like to boost your spouse’s super balance. Currently, an individual making a contribution into their spouse’s super account may be entitled to a maximum tax offset of $540 if certain requirements are met. From 1 July 2017, the government will increase access to this spouse super tax offset by raising the eligibility threshold for the receiving spouse from $10,800 to $37,000.
You can also split up to 85% of your before-tax super contribution with your spouse. This can help their super grow and possibly reduce the tax you’ll pay as well if you make salary sacrifice contributions. The types of contributions you can split include your Super Guarantee and salary sacrifice.
Now you’re married you’ll need to disclose your spouse’s taxable income on your tax return each year. One of the reasons for this is that your combined income will be taken into account to determine whether you will be charged the Medicare levy surcharge if you don't have private health insurance.
With your big day behind you, it’s time to get on with planning for the next phase.
While this will be different for everyone, it may involve saving up for your dream honeymoon (if you delayed having one), saving to buy your first home or saving for when the time comes to start a family. You may like to use our online tool to explore your goals together.
Our AMP Bett3r account can help you to manage your money and set savings goals, and – if you plan to revel in the bliss of being newlyweds a little while longer – tracking your spending using our budget calculator will help you to find the funds needed to enjoy more romantic dinners a deux.
If you need assistance, speak to your financial adviser. If you don’t have one, contact us on 131 267 or use our find an adviser tool.
If your pay packet is lacking some muscle, see how you can make your money stretch further.