I got married last Friday. That was our plan BEFORE we got engaged — hence my extreme surprise when a ring was presented to me. My boyfriend/fiance/hubby (I’m never really sure what to call him) is currently a student, and we bought our two-family house together. I wanted to ensure that I could put him on my benefits, because I wasn’t sure if his having an income would affect his insurance eligibility, and I’d rather not have to scramble if he were to find out that he now has to pay a huge amount.
But insurance benefits aren’t the main reason we got married this year. Tax benefits are. Getting married this year instead of next year means about $6,000 less in tax liability. That’s a lot of money when you’re planning a wedding/bought a house/paying off debt. So we got legally married for about $150 in marriage license and officiant costs. We don’t really consider ourselves married for any purpose other than taxes and benefits, and we purposely planned to do it on the same day as our wedding celebration next year (only one anniversary to remember).
While updating my benefits, I also updated a few more things. I decided to change my withholding to married, which will lower my tax refund, but will mean more money in my pocket now. Offsetting this, I increased my HSA contribution. I’m hoping that I am able to make a lump sum contribution to the HSA around bonus time next year, so that we can get LASIK for my man–I had it about six years ago (is it really possible that it was that long ago?!) and it was some of the best money I ever spent. I mean, I financed it, and that wasn’t wise, but otherwise it was definitely worth the cost.
I also increased my 401(k) a percentage point. I’m now contributing 8% of my salary. I would like to do more, and I have it set up to automatically increase a percentage point each year, around what I think is raise time. Ideally I’d like to be contributing 15% (or really the annual maximum) to make up for the amount of time I contributed nothing towards retirement. The lovely website recommends saving 10-15% of salary each year, which I assume is geared toward helping you maintain your existing level of comfort in retirement. The good news is, I certainly don’t spend money (on housing, food, etc.) like someone who makes my salary–because I’m sending $1,000 a month in student loans. So really, I’m living like someone who makes at least $15,000 less annually. This makes me feel a little bit better, but as soon as those loans are paid off, I want to ensure I’m contributing at least 15%. Hopefully it doesn’t take me 15 years to get there.