Financial tips for engaged same-sex couples

If in debt, don't throw money away in expensive wedding party

MIAMI - Financial advisers encourage engaged same-sex couples to discuss their short-term and long-term financial plans. Arguments over money continue to be among the leading causes of divorce for straight couples.

If you are almost always worried about money and have credit card debt, below is a list of some of the issues you and your partner should be discussing.

 FILING TAXES

"A high-net worth couple may see their taxes rise when they file their taxes jointly, if their combined income pushes them into a higher tax bracket," said Richard Ehrlich, of the Secure Wealth Planning Group in Boca Raton.

"You pay more per person in taxes as a married person than you did when you were single, especially if you are a higher earner," Davis janowski, of WealthFront, said.

If "the combined income is under $110,000, the couple can decide to have a kid and claim $1,000 per child to lower their taxes even further," Sam Dogen, of Financial Samurai, said.

The 33 percent marriage bracket structure hits married couples at an income of $226,850, according to The IRS.

Couples can only claim one homestead property tax exemption.

Gifting among spouses is unlimited and there are no state or federal taxes.

HEALTH BENEFITS

"Married same-sex couples will become eligible for benefits like health insurance through their partner's employer, as long as they offer spousal coverage," Ehrlich said.

RETIREMENT

"Review your current plan and update the  beneficiaries for all of your financial accounts." Ehrich said. "Your  401(k)s, IRAs, and insurance should all be looked at to ensure your benefits are in line with your wishes for the future."

SOCIAL SECURITY

"If a spouse passes away and has a larger Social Security benefit, the survivor is entitled to that. Same-sex couples can also receive a one-time payment of $255 that the Social Security Administration gives to surviving spouses to help with expenses like burials," Ehrlich said.

"The only financial reason to get married is to prevent the government from stealing from you if you die before you start collecting Social Security," Dogen said.

STUDENT AID

A marriage can result in families losing student financial aid, Mark Kantrowitz, of Edvisors Network, said during an interview with The New York Times. If the parent gets married, the student could lose $3,000 in aid for every $10,000 of annual income that the new stepparent brings to the household.

For married couples who file their income taxes jointly, loan payments would be calculated on their joint income. Loan payments for married couples filing separately would be based on the individual borrower's income, according to Student Debt Crisis.

MILITARY BENEFITS

The surviving spouse of someone in the military may have to consider the possibility of losing military benefits when getting remarried. According to The U.S. military, if remarriage occurs before age 55, the annuity is suspended and can be reinstated if the remarriage ends by death or divorce. If remarriage occurs at age 55 or older, the annuity continues uninterrupted for the duration of the spouse's life.

 WEDDING PARTY

In average couples spent about $31,000 on their weddings last year, according to The Knot experts. The Wedding Report data placed the average cost of a wedding in Florida at about $24,250. If you are spending more, try to reevaluate your budget.

INVESTMENT STRATEGY

Alex Popovich, of JP Morgan Private Bank, said during a U.S. News interview, that when new couples pool resources they have more opportunities. Joint ownership can also protect couples from creditors, Popovich said.

DEBT

Partners debts and bad credit history are part of the married couple's economic relationship. Develop a plan to reduce debt.