Becoming a couple comes with a lot of compromises and some long discussions to get together on the same page when it comes to planning for the future and investing. Since investing is so important to plan for retirement it is vital for couples to address this issue sooner rather than later. While this may seem like an easy task, it can be a difficult situation especially if one of you is a conservative investor and the other prefers a more risky venture. If you find yourself on different pages about investing, or just need some tools to begin investing together, try the 10 tips below.
1. Consider First Paying Off High-Interest Debt First
While it is essential to invest as early as possible, if you are considering investing to gain seven percent interest and you are paying credit card debt at 14 percent, you may be going backward in terms of finances. Make a plan to eliminate your credit card debt so you can free up the payment amount and amount you spend in interest to invest in your future financial goals.
2. Invest as Much as You Can, as Early as You Can
After you have cleared up your high-interest debt, you should determine how much you will be able to invest. A crucial thing to remember is that the more money you put in early, the more you are likely to end up with in the end. While contributing up to 20 percent of your income may seem difficult with your current expenses, investing the highest amount you can afford will provide you with the best investment start.
3. Exercise Caution With Large Purchases
Sometimes trying to maintain a lifestyle can end up costing you a significant amount of money that you would have wished you had invested instead. Always consider whether the value is worth having less invested later. Items like cars quickly depreciate often making them poor investments for the initial cost.
4. Determine Your Goals and Come Up With a Plan to Get There
To start with, you will need to determine the minimum amount you will need to achieve your retirement or long-term investing goals. Once you have determined your minimum investment return, you will need to structure your portfolio in a way that those minimum goals will be reached in the time frame expected.
5. Decide on Your Risk Tolerance
This can be the difficult part for many couples if one is a conservative investor and the other prefers more risk. Yet, for many couples, they really are unaware of what their risk tolerance is. To determine this, you can discuss your previous experiences both good and bad with your investments with a financial advisor who can help you calculate your risk tolerance.
6. Try Starting With a Simulated Account
While understanding your risks and the pros and cons will get you started, if you are still a little nervous about jumping in, you may benefit from investing in a simulated account. This can help you to see how your decided investment approach may actually play out in the future without actually risking your money. This may also be a good option if couples are deadlocked on which investment option is better. You can use a simulated account as a compare and contrast methods. These simulated accounts can help you see cash flow forecasts and provide a stress test for your future investment.
7. If You Choose to Invest Separately, Keep Each Other Informed
If, as a couple, you choose to invest your money separately based on different risk tolerances, it is important to stay informed. Investing separately may include working with different advisors. Yet, if this is the case, you should make sure to discuss your investments with your significant other and schedule at least one annual meeting between advisors so that you can make sure that your combined goals for the future are being met. Be cautious when investing with different advisors as you are likely to get conflicting advice.
8. Section Off Some "Play Money" if Your Budget Allows
If you have some extra money to play with in your portfolio, you might want to consider creating a play investing fund. This money can be used for risky investments that you may be able to obtain a high payoff but won't have a problem if the investment does not pan out as you figured. This can satisfy the urge to be able to possibly hit big with an investment without the risk to your long-term goals.
9. Split the Risk Into Different Retirement Accounts
If each spouse has a separate retirement account, and you want to have some conservative investments and riskier ones, you can consider splitting the risk between the two accounts. Keep one account conservative to ensure you will have enough to meet your retirement goals and future needs and have the second account for high-risk investments. This can also be a good practice if you and your spouse are having difficulty deciding on the risk you want to take. This is a better option to do sooner rather than later as you may want to lower the risk as you get closer to retirement.
10. Know the Value of Both Your Money and Your Relationship
While having a healthy bottom line and the proper investments for the future is vital to your life after retirement, it is essential that you not only value your money but also know the value that your relationship brings. Money can often come between couples. By compromising and getting on the same page, you can maintain a healthy relationship and continue to move forward to meet your future goals.
Try the tips above to set your future goals with your significant other and help you get on the path to a stable retirement that you can both enjoy after your years of hard work.