Love is Blind- But Make Sure He Sees Your Accountant
I was saddened by the recent passing of Doris Day at the age of 97. As I was reading her obituary and learning about her life as a singer and movie star, what struck me was how her 3rd husband, to whom she was seemingly happily married, had managed to “embezzle the $20 million she had earned and had left her $500,000 in debt”. (NYTimes 5/13/19) The Times article went on to say that she discovered this only after his death in 1968.
While most people don’t have high profile careers or three or four marriages, we all work hard to earn our money, grow our nest egg to support us in our later years and to leave a legacy for our children. We as accountants and your trusted advisors are here to support you as you build your careers, save for retirement and pass your assets to future generations.
While we should not necessarily be consulted on whom to ask for their hand in marriage – we should be a close second or third after you have decided to pop the question or say “I do”. I am here to suggest that, perhaps after you tell your family and close friends, the next phone call should be to your accountant. Why? Not only will we offer our heartfelt congratulations but we can serve as a touchstone for the more practical aspects of coming together and of your life after “I do”.
Your accountant can help you with several of the “To‐Do’s” before you say the “I Do’s”:
Help you with a budget
Whether you have $5,000, $5 million dollars or alternatively have the same amounts of debt, budgetingmis key to help you plan for your future. A penny saved is a penny earned and you will thank your accountant when those pennies add up and pay for your honeymoon or whatever you plan on doing with the budgeted savings.
Help you decide how to file your tax returns – before and after you marry
There can be tax planning involved around filing status ‐ whether you file as two separate single people or as a married couple can result in some wildly different tax liabilities. Depending on your particular circumstances, the tax savings for delaying a wedding until January of the following tax year could pay for your honeymoon!
Help you keep track of and protect your assets
As your grow your assets you may have a tendency to lose track of them – that 401K or the Health Savings account from a previous employer, the 529 plan you set up for your child or the IRA you set up with your first paycheck to name just a few. Use your regularly scheduled meeting with your accountant to stay on top of your assets.
As you meet with them to do your tax returns, let them help you keeptrack and utilize the assets you have which will allow you to continue doing what you do to create them. Leave the tracking, the investing and planning to the professionals who do those things day in and day out.
Help you with a Pre‐Nuptial Agreement
Is a Pre‐Nup right for you? It is an agreement you make before you get married about the ownership of your assets should the marriage fail. Your accountant can advise you before you take the plunge. Prenups aren’t necessarily an admission that the marriage will fail but it is a stop gap and should be considered a security blanket covering your pre‐marriage assets in the event things don’t work out.
Did anyone say Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is an agreement made after a couple gets married to settle their affairs and assets in the event of a divorce. In the event you didn’t set up the prenup, you still have the opportunity to protect your assets by utilizing this type of agreement.
Whether you are single or planning on getting married for the first, second or third time, your trusted professional should be on your speed dial. Your CPA can provide you with objective advice and answers on how to manage your finances and tax filings through careful planning in the event you are blinded by the ‘love bug’.
The professionals here at Mazars USA are well versed in all areas of income tax, financial planning and estate tax planning. We are ready to help you walk through the many areas of planning and decisions to make before and after you walk down the aisle. Call us today.