How you invest your money is a personal decision. You might be the type of person who loses sleep every time the FTSE index falls or you could be as cool as a cucumber in the face of financial meltdown. You and your partner may have very different views, so don’t leave investing to one of you.
Your financial goals
Before you can think about how you will invest your money, you need to work out your financial goals.
Questions to discuss may include:
1. What do you want to be able to do in 5, 10 or 15 years (buy a bigger house, support your children through university)? How different are your ideas to those of your partner?
SAVVY TIP: There are lots of calculators available online that will show you how much you might have if you saved a certain amount. Although investment returns aren’t guaranteed, you could work out how much your investments might generate by picking different rates of return (for example, 3%, 5% etc).
2. When would you like to retire? Does that coincide with your partner’s plans?
SAVVY TIP: There’s a retirement calculator on SavvyWoman which will give you an idea of how much you might retire on.
3. How much do you already have? and how do you want to use it?
SAVVY TIP: Don’t be tempted to opt out of any discussions about long term investments. Unless you keep your finances totally separate, it’s important that both of you are involved in the decision.
Issues to consider
If you’ve talked through and worked out some financial goals you can agree on, the next stage is to start planning how you invest your money.
- If you both feel comfortable making decisions about long term investments on your own (i.e. without any financial advice) lots of information available online. Some of it is independent and useful, some not so independent and some of it may be out of date and unreliable.
SAVVY TIP: Some people think that paying for independent financial advice is a waste of money. Unless you’re an expert, that’s rarely the case. There’s information about Financial advice and information in the section entitled Saving & Investing.
Questions to ask include:
1. How much risk are you comfortable taking with your money? Do you have similar ideas about what is risky and what isn’t?
SAVVY TIP: Women tend to be more risk aware than men — many financial advisers I’ve spoken to say that women often want to know how much they could lose if the stock market falls.
2. How would each of you feel if your investments lost money? (When working out how much risk you’re prepared to take, think about how you’d feel if you lost 10%, 20% or 30% of the money you invested).
SAVVY TIP: If you’re using an independent financial adviser, make sure you’re each encouraged to talk about how you feel about risk.
3. If you could start over again, would you make the same decisions or do things differently?
SAVVY TIP: Cashing in investments you already have may not be the right approach as you may have to pay penalties or may get back less than you paid in. But it’s important to talk about how you feel about decisions you’ve already made.
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