Saturday, July 31, 2010

Money Makeover: Married Couple, Separate Finances

Earlier today, I came across this interesting article from CNN on Michelle Spranger and Scott Zuckerberg. The article discusses the story of a couple that has been married for eight years, but maintain separate finances. According to the article, they finally decide to merge their finances to make their lives a little easier.

Scott, 43, has a full-service broker, variable annuities, and a union pension, while Michelle, 42, uses a discount brokerage account and IRAs. Neither knows what the other is doing.

"The only thing we have together is a checking account," Michelle says. "We need to merge and have a common goal."

Troy, Mich., planner Warren McIntyre agrees. For starters, the couple isn’t even sure how much they're saving annually. Both are self-employed: Michelle is a freelance producer, meeting planner, and writer earning $90,000 to $115,000 a year; Scott makes $60,000 to $75,000 as a lighting and rigging technician for films.

With fluctuating incomes, they must be really diligent about saving. McIntyre's advice: Sock away at least 15% of their pay. That, plus Scott's pension and their real estate, should get them to a comfortable retirement.

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