June is a popular month for weddings. If you’re getting married this month, you’ve got a lot on your mind, but after the honeymoon is over, it’s time to start thinking of the key activities of building a life together — one of which is creating a long-term investment strategy.
To build such a strategy, you and your spouse will need to take several steps. Here are some of the most important ones:
• Identify your goals. People can enter marriage at different stages of life. But whether you’re a young newlywed or a baby boomer entering a second marriage, both you and your spouse will have a set of goals you want to achieve, such as saving for a down payment on a home, saving for college for your children, building resources for a comfortable retirement, purchasing a vacation home, supporting charitable organizations and so on. It’s important that, as a couple, you identify those financial goals that are most important to you.
• List your debts and assets. Generally speaking, the fewer “surprises” you and your spouse bring to a marriage, in terms of financial issues, the better. If you haven’t already done so, put your debts and assets “on the table” so you’re both aware of what you owe and what you own. This knowledge will be invaluable when you begin making the investment moves necessary to achieve your goals.
• Discuss your investment styles. You and your spouse no doubt share many traits, but you will also have some differences — and one of those differences may be in your investment styles and preferences. For example, you may be an aggressive investor, while your spouse might be more conservative. What you choose to do with those differences is up to you. You could, for example, arrive at some common ground between your two styles and use that approach in your joint investment accounts. Then, for your individual accounts, such as your IRA or 401(k), you and your spouse can follow your individual investment styles.
• Start an emergency fund. Of all the investment-related moves you can make early in your marriage, none may be quite as important as building an emergency fund containing six to 12 months’ worth of living expenses in a liquid account. Without this emergency fund, you could quickly go into debt or be forced to dip into a long-term investment if you have to meet an unexpected, and unexpectedly large, expense, such as a major car repair, a new appliance or a medical bill.
• Get some help. If you can make the right investment-related moves right from the beginning of your marriage, you’ll almost certainly make your lives easier. But investing can be complicated, so you and your spouse could well benefit from getting assistance from a professional financial advisor — someone who can help you create and maintain an investment portfolio that’s appropriate for your specific goals, risk tolerance and time horizon.
By making the right investment moves, right from the start of your marriage, you and your spouse may be giving yourselves a “wedding gift” that may benefit you for years to come. So plan your moves carefully — and enjoy your lives together.
Frank Bevenour is the Edward Jones representative in Rincon. He can be reached at 826-2694.