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June is the most popular month of the year to get married, and if you’re planning on tying the knot this month or recently did, the first thing on your list – after paying off debt for wedding costs – should be devising a mutual investing strategy.

If you openly discuss the topic of finances with your spouse and come up with a unified plan, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a financially comfortable companionship for life.

1. Have the Money Talk

What happened before this point is immaterial. Whether one of you has saved up more than the other, or if one has some credit card or student loan debt, you are now a team.

Communicate clearly and honestly to create an effective strategy going forward.

This is where you devise strategies to save, pay down any outstanding debts, and decide whether you’re going to invest aggressively or conservatively.

2. Convert Traditional IRA to a Roth

If you’re currently invested in a traditional IRA, you’re going to need to pay taxes on your withdrawals during retirement.

If you expect tax rates to go up in the future – or if you simply like the idea of knowing how much you’re going to have when you call it quits – convert to a Roth IRA, which deducts taxes as you pay into it.

If you convert, however, be aware that you have to pay taxes on the current value of the IRA, as it’s considered taxable income.

This is certainly going to have a significant impact on your short-term finances, but if you’ve got the funds, you can fare better in the long-term.

3. Create a Unified Budget

Regardless of your investment strategy, establishing a budget as a couple is a must.

Decide who’s going to pay the bills and whether or not you want to merge your bank accounts.

Establish spending limits for purchases along with a threshold for when one has to “ask” about a large purchase.

One of the leading causes of divorce in this country is money, so if you don’t want to become a statistic, create a mutually agreed upon budget immediately.

4. Think as a Couple

Although putting one person in charge of finances is generally a good idea, it’s important for both spouses to be involved in all investment decisions. In short, match your investing objectives.

If one of you invests in a 401k plan up to your employer’s match limit, the other should consider doing the same.

Or if your portfolio is invested aggressively while your spouse’s is more conservative, consider creating some common ground.

Final Thoughts
No matter how much you save along the way to retirement, if you don’t invest it properly, you’re leaving serious cash on the table.

Diversify your portfolio, including all asset classes.

Go with an aggressive strategy when you’re young and transition to a more conservative mindset as you get older.

Invest funds slowly and steadily, and when you reach retirement age you can reap the benefits of a life well-planned.

What tips can you offer up for newlyweds?

David Bakke is a contributor for MoneyCrashers.com – he writes about family budgeting, smart shopping strategies, and investment opportunities.
Photo Credit: Katrina.Tuliao

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6 comments comments closed

  1. I think your points are great ideas for couples to open the lines of communication on finances. This is a delicate subject for most newly weds and these prompts will definitely help get the ball rolling.

  2. All great tips! We didn’t talk about money until we almost went bankrupt and then there were many discussions about money and who’s fault it was we were broke. Start off life early on a budget and include your investment strategy as part of those budget discussions.

    • I agree Casey that starting off a marriage with some financial goals can be incredibly empowering. You’re not completely stuck with what you have, you two can adjust it as you see fit. Thanks for your feedback!

  3. I would also mention have the look at the credit reports to see where you both side if you haven’t already done so. This is very important to see what debts you both have and if there are any problems with the credit scores. And one tip is realizing that marriage is handwork and will need consistent nurturing.

    • Having an open discussion about finances and reviewing credit history can be beneficial to both. Sometimes we need to have another pair of eyes to help us identify weak points.

  4. Looking at the statistics of divorces – 50% in the first 3 years and another 30% in 2 more years – the best thing is to have prenuptial agreement. Unified finances have pros and cons. Divorce is the biggest con.