You like spicy food; your spouse doesn’t. Your spouse likes to travel abroad; you’re happy staying home. But that’s okay. You don’t have to like the same things or do the same things to be happy. When it comes to your retirement investments, though, it’s important to be on the same page.
Yours + Mine = Ours
Spouses frequently have different attitudes about money. Lots of couples maintain separate bank accounts so they can manage money individually. As long as the bills get paid, they generally don’t have a problem. But what about investing?
Couples often have different attitudes about investing, too. One might be an aggressive investor with a portfolio full of stocks. The other might be risk averse, holding mostly low risk investments. If they both contribute to retirement savings plans at work, should they coordinate their investment strategies? Or should they each make their own investment decisions?
The Big Picture
Even if you and your spouse prefer to make individual investment decisions, ideally you’ll work together to develop an overall strategy for meeting your joint goals. Take a look at all your retirement investments to see how your combined assets are allocated* among the different investment types. Then decide together whether your combined asset allocation is appropriate for your joint goals and investing time frames. If you have investments outside of your retirement plans, include them in your asset allocation decisions.
Talk It Over
Check your combined asset allocation at least once a year. If it has shifted, you may need to rebalance. Tweaking the investments in just one of your accounts may accomplish the results you want.
As you get closer to retirement, your risk tolerance may change, leading you both in a more conservative direction. At that point — and at every point along the way — coordinating your investments will help you and your spouse reach your retirement savings goal.
* Asset allocation does not guarantee a profit or protect against losses.
His, Hers, and Theirs
His Hers Theirs
Bonds 10% 40% 25%
Stocks 90% 40% 65%
Cash alternatives 0% 20% 10%
These hypothetical portfolios are for illustration only. They assume spouses have equal amounts invested. Cash alternative investments may not be federally guaranteed or insured, and it is possible to lose money by investing in cash alternatives. Returns on cash alternative investments may not keep pace with inflation, so you could lose purchasing power.