How couples can get on the same page for financial planning
Q. My husband is 66 and I’m 48. That’s making it hard for us to decide on our asset allocation. How can we pick one that works for us both, given that I’ll probably be around longer than him?
— The younger one
A. It sounds like you need an intervention. Or, you need an objective third party to help you compromise while also giving the specific advice you need.
There are many reasons a couple might be on different pages when it comes to financial planning. Not only may there be conflict for the couple, but conflict for the plan itself.
That means you need to look at the bigger picture and concentrate on more than just your investments. It’s your goals, assets and income that will determine how your money should be invested.
“A significant amount of recurring income allows for a slightly more aggressive allocation,” said Stephen Craffen of Stonegate Wealth Management in Oakland.
But we know there are many more specifics to your situation, and they all need to be considered.
Jerry Lynch, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton, offered several common issues among couples with an age difference.
• One wants to retire and the other has to work, if only for medical benefits
• One is pulling funds from IRAs while the other is putting money into a 401(k)
• One wants more conservative investments and the other invests more aggressively
Lynch recommends you start with your income needs, both now and in the future.
“Is your husband still working and how long does he want to continue with that? When he stops working, will your income be enough to support the family?” Lynch asked.
Your age difference is important in planning. By the time you are ready to collect Social Security, your husband will be 87.
Lynch said you should develop an asset allocation strategy by figuring out when you need the money and how much you need.
“Short-term money needs to be very conservative and longer-term money can be a little more aggressive,” Lynch said.
But, that’s not a decision you want to make in a bubble.
He recommends you get a good financial planner who can help you address the hard questions ahead of you.
Craffen also said a fee-only financial planner could help a lot by looking at your risk tolerances to get a more comprehensive look at your situation.
Craffen said the planner would want to know:
• How much do you currently have in retirement assets?
• Is your husband retired? If not, how long is he planning to work?
• Are you retired? If not, how long are you planning to work?
• Will you be supporting your husband in retirement?
“There are a lot of hard questions that need to be addressed and it is better to get someone objective to help,” Craffen said.
Maybe a free money makeover from one of our certified financial planners can help.