Both of these investment types carry their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. These can depend on a myriad of things including an investor’s tolerance for risk, the market cycle, the financial strength of a company issuing the stock or bond, and even interest rates and inflation.Read More
1) Get on the same page about short and long-term financial goals. Whether you’re already married or on the path to marriage, you need to be on the same page financially. If one of you is a saver and the other a spender, this can cause rifts in any long-term relationship. Talk about where you want to be in a year, 5 years and dream a little about what retirement might look like for the two of you together.
2) Share your financial secrets BEFORE you walk down the aisle. Talking about money isn’t always easy, especially with your future spouse. It’s an intimate conversation and should be approached with a non-judgmental attitude on both sides of the table. If you’re coming into a marriage with a low credit score from past poor financial decisions, a large amount of consumer or student loan debt, or even a hefty family trust or inheritance, your partner needs to know. If you want to protect both spouses financially before you say, “I do,” consider a prenuptial agreement. If you’re already married and want a similar type of financial protection, you can consider a post-nuptial agreement.
3) Create and follow a budget. Be ready to compromise, but don’t just give in to everything your spouse wants. That will only create resentment down the road. Remember that you’re both working toward the same end goal. Revisit and balance your budget each month. Once you’ve gotten started, this process doesn’t take a long as you would think. Especially if you’re jointly using one of the many free apps available to help with this.
4) Define what constitutes a major purchase. Use your defined threshold (in my marriage, it’s $200) to clear things with each other. I don’t need or want to know about every pack of gum or woodworking tool my husband buys. However, if one of our purchases is going to total over $200, we, at the very least, inform one another and discuss as needed. Consider adding a “fun money” line item to your budget so you each have some freedom to spend with some anonymity.
5) Watch your language. You may be wondering what language has to do with finances in a marriage. What I mean by this is that you need to approach the subject of money like the sensitive topic it is and try to keep it rational rather than making it emotionally charged. Don’t use harsh words, raise your voice or assume that you know more than you spouse. Speak to each other like equals, even if one of you is the primary breadwinner and the other is a domestic engineer. You’re both equally important to your relationship and achieving your financial goals.
6) Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional. If you know where you’re going, but you’re not sure how to get there, asking for directions is always a good idea. Planning for your future together is an important process, so seeking advice about things like investments, insurance, taxes, estate planning, etc. from professionals in these fields can be very helpful. We recommend working with a Certified Financial Planner™ professional that is a “fee-only” fiduciary advisor. In other words, someone (like the planners at Worley Erhart-Graves) who is going to make comprehensive financial plan recommendations that are in your best interest and not try to sell you any financial products along the way.
7) Update or create your estate plan. Did you know your spouse is not automatically granted the rights to help you make financial or medical decisions just because you’re married? You need legal documents in place to make this a reality. If something happens and you become incapacitated, the absence of estate plan documents can create a very expensive and chaotic situation for your spouse.
8) Update your beneficiaries. This is especially important for people who are in a second marriage or have children. You wouldn’t want your ex-spouse to inherit your 401K if you passed away tomorrow, would you? When you are working with your estate planning attorney, ask them for the proper language to update beneficiaries on any applicable assets.
9) Talk to a tax advisor. If you’re getting married, this means you’re most likely going to be combining incomes on a joint tax return. Talk to a tax advisor (ahead of tax time) about what changes you can expect and if it will make sense to file as a couple or keep your tax filings separate.
10) Review your plan together at least annually. A lot can happen in a year. You could change jobs, discover you’re going to have a baby, or have new expenses related to a home purchase. It makes a lot of sense to review your plan and see where you can improve or just take a moment to enjoy that you’ve achieved some great financial accomplishments together.
I took a week off in May for a staycation. Of course, I had a list of things to do that week, with the biggest project being to tend to the craftsman-style columns on our front and back porches.Read More
The Millennial generation, on average, is waiting longer to get married than most previous generations. Maybe it is because we are taking marriage very seriously because we were children of divorced parents, or maybe we want to feel more grounded in our own lives before we work at a marriage.Read More
Let’s face it, most of us have made a financial decision that we are not proud of. It happens to everyone. If you’re asking a financial planner for help, however, keeping secrets can prevent your planner from building an effective plan of action.Read More
Figuring out where you want to live and what kind of home you want comes with quite a bit of research. Doing the research will pay off when you avoid buyer’s remorse and find a home you’ll love living in for a long time. Here are 8 helpful hints of things to consider before you decide on a home purchase.Read More
Not many of us have the good fortune of winning the lottery or making a salary large enough to pay cash for our homes. Chances are, if you’re ready to purchase your first home, you’re going to need a mortgage loan to pay for most of your purchase.Read More
Like everyone, my personality, values, dreams, and hang-ups have been shaped by my childhood. For various reasons, I didn’t feel like I had much security in my life while growing up. I developed a strong sense that I had to fend for myself.Read More
As you know, we are in the thick of tax season, and I’m finding a lot of clients want to learn more about quarterly estimated tax payments. Perhaps the new tax laws changed their situation enough to warrant estimated tax payments, or perhaps they have experienced a life change, like retirement.Read More
It’s ski season and my family is heading out west for some fun in the snow. It always seems like there’s so much to pack (jackets, skis, poles, helmets, gloves, etc.), but there are two more items that I require my adult children to bring.Read More
I recently attended a networking event and overheard another attendee say, “I have my investments with three different firms because I don’t want all my eggs in one basket.” I hear this and other common misconceptions of investment diversification because most investors know they should be diversified but they’re not really sure what that means.Read More
Account aggregation is an optional service that allows Schwab clients to collect financial information from accounts at different (non-Schwab) institutions including: investment accounts, bank accounts, credit cards, loans and real estate.Read More
Furry members of the family can bring much love, happiness, and joy into a home. Unfortunately, they can also come with unexpected illnesses, injuries and accompanying veterinary medical bills.Read More