By Azure Nelson,
Published Jul 1, 2010
Special to OneWed from Pamela Yellen
As a new or young couple just starting out, planning your life together is an exciting and beautiful time. Endless possibilities abound, but endless decisions have to made in order for those possibilities to become reality — some of which are fun to think about while others not so much so. What neighborhood will you live in? Where will you go on vacation together? How will you pay for your children’s college? What’s a good investment strategy for a new couple like the two of you? These questions are all running through your head at warp speeds. You probably have the next 10 years of vacations all lined up, but you may have no idea what kind of return you’ll see from your investment portfolio as you grow old together.
A newly wed couple is a new investment team. You discuss, deliberate, buy, sell, maybe check your IRAs every couple of months, stress over downturns in the stock market, rejoice in a rally all because you’ve fallen into a series of investor pitfalls. You two aren’t the only ones, but those pitfalls are easy to free yourself from if you can identify them. Here are a few traps to steer clear of when planning your financial future together:
Investor Trap #1: “Investors are impatient and irrational,” and “consistently make buy and sell decisions at the worst possible moments,” according to DALBAR, a well-respected independent investment research firm.
Investor Trap #2: You could get a 25 percent “average annual return” for years and still not make a single dime or even lose money! Look at the real returns on your money.
Investor Trap #3: If you’re investing in mutual funds inside a 401(k) plan, fees can “eat up to half your income over a 30-year span,” according to an exposé on 60 Minutes. Examine fees closely and find out exactly where your money is going.
Investor Trap #4: Taxes, taxes and more taxes! If you’re like most Americans, much of your savings is in tax-deferred accounts, like 401(k) plans. Paying taxes later is one of the big appeals of these plans. But what direction do you think tax rates will go over the long term? If, like most people, you think taxes are going to go up, and if you’re successful in growing a nest egg, you’re only going to pay higher taxes on a larger number!
The bottom line is that most new couples trust their financial investments to a game with rules they don’t understand and have no control over. No wonder most couples have no confidence they’ll be able to reach their financial goals and dreams. One way to boost confidence is to look for an investment that guarantees a return. For example, look for whole life insurance policies that pay and reinvest their dividends, and are guaranteed to grow in value predictably – each and every year – while providing your new family financial security for the future, both planned and unplanned.
About the Author: As a consultant to financial advisors, author and financial security expert, Pamela Yellen investigated more than 450 savings and retirement planning strategies before learning about Bank On Yourself. Pamela is the author of BANK ON YOURSELF: The Life-Changing Secret to Growing and Protecting Your Financial Future, which has reached number 3 on the New York Times best-seller list. Learn more at www.BankOnYourself.com.