Beyond ‘I do’

You've said 'I do' and now it's official - you're married. But beyond that milestone day, there are a few decisions to make, both personal and financial, about your new life together. 

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.

Financial considerations

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.

Bank accounts

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.

Property

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.

Insurance

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.

You can use our calculator to work out how much cover you need when it comes to certain insurance types.

Super

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.

Tax

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.

What’s next?

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.

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Any advice in this page is general in nature and is provided by AMP Life Limited ABN 84 079 300 379 (AMP Life). The advice does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of this advice having regard to those matters. AMP Bett3r Account is issued by AMP Bank Limited ABN 15 081 596 009, AFSL 234517. Consider the terms and conditions available on request by calling 13 30 30 or at amp.com.au/bett3r and whether this product is appropriate for you. Fees and charges apply.

Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any decision. Except where liability cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability for any resulting loss or damage.