Equifax

Finance Blog

Three Steps to Saving for Retirement with Your Spouse

Written by Jeff Rose on August 20, 2013 in Retirement  |   No comments

Marriage is more than just a commitment to the person you love—it’s a commitment to that person’s finances as well. Once you are married, you and your spouse must decide if you want to marry your retirement and financial accounts, too. This decision will be…

retirement, retirement planningMarriage is more than just a commitment to the person you love—it’s a commitment to that person’s finances as well. Once you are married, you and your spouse must decide if you want to marry your retirement and financial accounts, too. This decision will be a key part of your retirement planning.

First things first: Is your retirement account considered marital property? Chances are, you and your spouse both have your own separate retirement accounts. In many states, the amount of money you have in your retirement account before you get married is considered separate property. Any money that is contributed to a 401(k) or IRA after the wedding is considered marital property.

With that said, any contributions made to a retirement account are generally considered marital property, regardless of the account holder’s name. If you have your own investment accounts while you are married, the funds are not considered separate property if the marriage ends in divorce. An attorney can provide you with advice about your state’s laws and regulations.

Because of the marital property rules, married couples should coordinate their strategies and meet with a financial planner to create a comprehensive plan that will benefit each person.

Three steps to coordinating retirement plans

The goal for you and your spouse should be to get on the same page so that investing for retirement is both hassle-free and rewarding for each individual.

Step 1. Look at all of your accounts. Reduce the number of 401(k)s and IRAs that you and your spouse may have spread out among different companies and/or previous employers. Even though each of your retirement accounts is in your own name, the two of you should have accounts with the same company. This will help you develop a retirement saving strategy that meets your collective goals.

Step 2. Review portfolios together. It is important for married investors to stay informed about each other’s retirement and brokerage accounts. Be honest with your spouse about investments, and review monthly statements together to make sure you are meeting your investment goals as a married couple.

Step 3. Consider a spousal IRA. This can be a good option if one spouse does not work. A spousal IRA can help the non-working spouse to save for retirement, and it also eliminates the earned income clause (like the one in traditional IRA accounts). The spousal IRA is the same product as an IRA, but it allows the working spouse to make contributions into the account in the stay-at-home spouse’s name.

Planning is the most important part of investing. When you are talking with your spouse about retirement and mixing investment accounts, make sure you meet with a financial advisor and an attorney to understand all possible scenarios, including divorce.

Jeff Rose is a Certified Financial Planner and Iraqi combat veteran. He blogs at Good Financial CentsSoldier of Finance and Life Insurance By Jeff.

No comments yet


Leave a Comment


Name :


Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.


Retirement Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter