Now that Kate Middleton is officially the new Dutchess of Cambridge, many of your workers are probably still in the midst of planning their own royal weddings as we enter the most popular months for weddings – May and June.
Americans certainly don’t spend as much as the multi-million pound price tag of the Westminster Abbey royal ceremony, but we do spend an average of $20,000 on our own version of the wedding fairy-tale.
As the magic day approaches, your female workers might spend as much as 25 percent of their workdays planning their weddings, and my guess is the pending grooms spend less than a minute of their days even thinking about the event until the bachelor party begins.
So how can we keep these employees focused on work while still acknowledging their special day?
Well, a wedding is just one day, but the marriage has a lasting impact on many important decisions an employee needs to make about their benefits. Create an information kit about the changes a bride or groom need to pay attention to, other than the style of the dress or the choice of bridesmaids. Here are some items to bring to their attention:
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- Health Insurance – compare coverage options to determine if each should remain on their own employer’s plan as individuals, or is it more beneficial for both to be covered under one plan? The couple needs to evaluate company subsidies, deductibles, co-insurance, and the doctor networks available through each of their employers.
- Life Insurance – the beneficiary designation will need to be updated on the employer-sponsored plan, and the newlywed may want to increase coverage or add spousal coverage if available.
- Tax Withholding – with a two income couple, the dreaded marriage tax penalty could increase their marginal tax bracket, so a new W4 should be completed to adjust withholding.
- Retirement Accounts – the beneficiary designation needs to be updated on any retirement plans, and the newlyweds should be having a “money talk” about their investment strategies and deferral rates, along with a discussion about their spending habits and budget (hopefully they had this talk BEFORE getting married).
Another great gift to your newly married employees is to offer access to on-site 1 x 1 financial counseling as an employee benefit to help with these major financial decisions. An hour with an unbiased financial planner who won’t just try to sell financial products can go a long way to helping a new couple set their financial goals and maximize their benefits at work.
This was originally published on the Financial Finesse blog for Workplace Financial Planning and Education.