Settling Newlyweds into Happily Ever After : Tips for Newlyweds on Managing Money and Completing the Name Change

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From flowers to guest lists, engaged couples spend months planning the perfect wedding. After the vows are said, most newlyweds are ready to relax. But there are several steps newlyweds must take before their happily ever after can begin.

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But it's important to start communicating about money at the beginning of your marriage.

"Settling into life as a married couple takes some work," said Lindsey Leesmann, a recent newlywed and contributor to "If you're taking your husband's last name, you must complete the name change in several places. You also have to discuss managing money as a couple and learn how to live together."

Leesmann offers a check list for newlyweds changing their last name:

Obtain a copy of your marriage license. If you stated you'd change your last name when purchasing your marriage license, you'll receive a copy of the license in the mail. Take the license to each location on your path toward a new last name.

Go online. Acquire a new Social Security card and updated passport. Complete Form SS-5 and take it to the local Social Security office to obtain a new card. The form can be found on the Social Security Administration's Web site. Your passport can be changed by completing Form DS-5504, found at

Drive to the DMV. The next stop for newlyweds is the Department of Motor Vehicles. Each state is different, so bring all the items required to get your named changed and renew your license.

Check in at your bank. Most banks simply need a copy of the marriage license and the account holder's signature to approve a name change. Some may also require your spouse to be present.

Drop by the post office. To change your name, just pick up a change of address envelope, fill it out and mail it back.

Once the name change is complete, newlyweds can focus on managing money as a couple.

"Money is often a tricky topic for new couples," said Sam Goller, award-winning author of Yes, You Can… Achieve Financial Harmony. "But it's important to start communicating about money at the beginning of your marriage."

Goller offers the following suggestions for newlyweds working to manage their finances as a couple:

Determine priorities. Prior to formulating a financial plan, talk about your money histories and what's most important to each of you when it comes to money.

Find missing dollars. You have to understand your spending habits before you can spend money in a way that helps meet your goals. Consider keeping a spending journal to find out where money really goes.

Choose a system that works for you. You may prefer to sit down each month as a couple to pay bills and develop a budget. Or maybe one of you is better at handling expenses and prefers to do it alone. Find a system that works with your needs.

"The key to managing money as a couple is to never stop talking," said Goller. "With a values-based approach to money and continued conversations, newlyweds have the power to improve their financial position both now and well into retirement."

About is an online community providing people with the resources needed to improve their financial position and enjoy a better life. The content-rich site provides helpful information and actionable tips for improving your financial position, thinking positively, having fun as a family and living a healthy life.

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managing money, name change, newlyweds

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Samantha Valenti
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