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Blended families must prioritize clear communication around finances to ensure a happy and stable relationship. Robert C. Jazwinski, a wealth advisor at JFS Wealth Advisors, offers valuable advice for couples in blended families or those considering a second marriage. Money issues are inevitable in any relationship, but they are particularly crucial when forming a new family. Jazwinski emphasizes the importance of open, honest communication between spouses, as well as the involvement of a financial planner and legal advisor.

One unique issue for blended families is dealing with financial obligations to an ex-spouse. Couples should clearly communicate any pre-existing contractual agreements and make decisions about how to handle assets acquired before or after the marriage. Assets should be carefully managed to ensure they remain separate property, especially in community property states. Additionally, couples should discuss expectations for leaving assets to their respective children from previous relationships and consider creating legal documents to solidify these agreements.

Ensuring that insurance policies, annuities, and retirement accounts have up-to-date beneficiary designations is essential for blended families. Couples should review and align their beneficiary designations to reflect their current intentions and avoid any confusion or conflicts in the event of a spouse’s death. Jazwinski emphasizes the importance of involving a professional financial advisor to facilitate conversations around money and help both partners understand each other’s goals and financial needs.

In blended families, it is crucial to have clear agreements and legal documentation regarding financial support and inheritance for stepchildren. Educational trusts created before the remarriage should be discussed, and both spouses should understand how these assets will be used for the benefit of the children brought into the marriage. Open communication and a willingness to address difficult financial topics are key to ensuring a successful and harmonious blended family environment. Couples should work together to create a comprehensive financial plan that meets the needs of all family members involved.

Jazwinski recommends involving a professional, fiduciary financial advisor to act as a neutral party and help facilitate discussions around money and finance. An advisor can assist in clarifying both partners’ financial goals, priorities, and needs, ultimately setting the stage for a successful financial approach to the new marriage. By seeking expert guidance and working together to address financial issues, blended families can set themselves up for a stable and fulfilling family life. Communication, transparency, and careful planning are essential for navigating the complexities of blended family finances and building a strong foundation for a lasting relationship.

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