In sickness and in health. You might also want to add this to marriage vows: in wealth or in poverty. The average wedding last year cost a record $30,000, and that doesn't include the honeymoon.
According to TheKnot.com, the biggest expenses are for catering, the wedding venue, the engagement ring, flowers and wedding photos. And get this, in Manhattan the average cost totaled nearly $87,000.
A new book by the well-known author Michael Lewis claims the stock market is rigged against the average investor. He told "60 Minutes" Sunday night that algorithm-based high speed traders have an edge that allows them to front-run the buy and sell orders the rest of us place, which ends up making our trades more expensive. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%The trades are legal, but cost investors tens of billions of dollars a year. Lewis is the author of the best-selling books, "Moneyball" and "The Big Short." His new book, "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt," hits store shelves Monday.
It's been a fairly volatile year for stocks so far, with the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) swinging up or down by 100 points or more 22 different times. But all of those big moves have virtually canceled each other out. Heading into the final day of trading in the first quarter, the Dow is down just 1.5 percent from the record high at which it began the year. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) are virtually flat for the year to date.
Last week, the Dow edged slightly higher, but the S&P 500 lost 0.5 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid nearly 3 percent. That's the Nasdaq's worst weekly performance in 17 months.
Finally, MF Global, the defunct and disgraced investment firm formerly run by Jon Corzine, is suing PricewaterhouseCoopers for at least $1 billion. MF claims "erroneous" accounting advice from PwC contributed to the company's collapse in 2011.
Know that no matter when you got married, the Internal Revenue Service considers you married for the entire year.
If you changed your name when you married, inform the Social Security Administration. Not doing so can foul up your tax return, if your name and Social Security number don't match on all your records, and it can also result in your earnings and other data not being properly credited.
Be sure that the Social Security Administration, the IRS, and your employers know your new whereabouts, so that you receive important mailings -- and perhaps your tax refund, too. Submit Form 8822 to the IRS to change your address in its records.
Revisit your withholding to make sure it's optimized. The IRS offers a withholding calculator. If changes need to be made, submit a revised W-4 form to your employer. You can be strategic about it, too. For example, if you're self-employed and your spouse collects a salary, you could increase your spouse's withholding to cover some of the tax obligation generated by your self-employed income. Doing so may help you avoid paying quarterly estimated taxes.
A key decision for new couples is whether to file their tax returns jointly or separately. Run through both scenarios to see which results in a lower overall tax bill. In most cases, filing jointly is best: It will save time, as there's just one return to prepare, and you won't have to decide who gets to take which deduction. If you don't want to share responsibility for your spouse's tax obligations or if you both simply prefer to keep your finances separate, you might opt to file separately.
You may not have itemized your deductions before, as the standard deduction probably made more sense. But with your financial life now combined with that of someone else, itemizing deductions might reduce your tax bill.
You may need to change your retirement vehicles. Before you were married, you might have saved regularly via a Roth IRA, but being part of a couple with a high joint income could exclude you from eligibility for that now.
If one of you sold a home in order to combine households, look into the home sale exclusion, which, if you qualify, lets you exclude up to $250,000 of capital gains on the sale from taxation ($500,000 for couples).