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To help couples - especially those starting a new life together - make the right decisions regarding their money, Lisa Airey, strategy analyst at Old Mutual Unit Trusts, provides five steps to save and invest effectively together.
1. Develop a strategy together
It is essential that a couple comes up with a long-term strategy for saving and investing that they both agree is in line with their combined aspirations, explains Airey.
"Every couple will understandably have different goals, so it is important that you talk this through in great detail before getting married, to ensure that you are on the same page when it comes to making any big financial decisions," she says.
2. Establish a system for resolving disputes
Airey warns couples that they’re bound to clash at times and should prepare for when those times come.
"Have a system and resources in place to help you through the difficult disagreements," she explains.
"And seeing that money problems are the most common reason for divorce, a financial planner can prove very handy in helping a couple to manage their finances effectively when they may not see eye to eye."
3. Commit to working together
Even though it is common for one spouse to take the lead when it comes to financial decisions, Airey says it is important that both partners be involved when it comes to their long-term financial plan.
"The fact of the matter is that doing things as a team will result in a better outcome and allow for a better partnership over the long run," she says.
4. Understand each other's goals and fears
To build a successful and mutually beneficial relationship, Airey says it is essential for both parties to be completely honest about not only their financial position going into the marriage, but also their financial goals and fears for the future.
"It is common for two partners to have different levels of aversion to risk, or different spending habits, and that’s okay, as long as they are transparent with each other about these from the start," she explains.
5. Stay focused on goals
The last tip that Airey offers to newlyweds is to be realistic about the time horizon for reaching their goals.
"Couples need to keep in mind that building wealth is a marathon, rather than a sprint. Developing a well-thought-out financial plan and strategy is very important," she says.
On the topic of investment vehicles, however, Airey does state that unit trusts can prove extremely helpful in reaching goals and aspirations sooner than expected.
"Unit trusts are designed and managed to grow your wealth and help you achieve your goals and dreams, by offering an easy, convenient and affordable way to invest in stock markets and asset classes such as equities, property, bonds and money markets.
"Unit trusts are also liquid, so you have access to the funds when you need it, but your initial capital grows unlike in a regular savings account," she says.
Airey suggests selecting a unit trust fund that is best suited for your time horizon.
"After setting your goal date, select the right unit trust investment appropriate for your risk profile and asset allocation," she says, adding that couples should consider a tax-free unit trust.
Some of the most common goals that couples can consider investing towards include:
- Saving for a deposit on a property;
- Investing for an unforgettable holiday;
- Saving and investing for a sabbatical;
- Funding children's education;
- An emergency fund for unexpected future costs.
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