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3 money mistakes that couples make

Lee Brodie

Whether you’re newly wed or about to celebrate your silver anniversary, there’s a good chance you’re making serious mistakes managing your money as a couple.

After talking with countless men and women about money and how it impacts their relationships, David Bach, vice chairman of Edelman Financial Services, has identified the many mistakes that recurred, time and again. They’re all profiled in his new book “Smart Couples Finish Rich: 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner.” Three of them follow here:

No protection plan

Bach said that too few couple have a will. “50% of couples don’t have a will,” he said. “Some having living trusts but many don’t put their assets in their living trusts so it’s not valuable.” Although nobody enjoys the thought of outliving their husband or wife, its an inevitability for one of you. And sifting through confusion about assets is the last thing you’ll want to deal with while grieving for your loved one. Do it while you’re healthy.

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Disagreement on life after retirement

“You have to agree on, and understand how you’ll live after you retire,” said Bach. All too often it goes unspoken. For example, it’s entirely possible your spouse intends to sell the house and live in another part of the country that’s less expensive. Also, “couples have to run the numbers and understand how much money they need to retire and the age they plan to retire.” In some cases, people plan to start a small business in retirement, which can have a dramatic impact on their spouse. All of the details need to be on the table.

Recognizing appetite for risk

“Opposites attract,” said Bach. And because opposites attract, couples need to discuss how they intend to put money to work. There’s a good chance one of you has a greater appetite for risk than the other. “But you have to invest as one,” said Bach. Discuss whether the risk is worth the reward now, rather than fight about it later.

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