1. Organize your finances. Get a handle on your income and spending, by both of you individually and as a couple. By reviewing the overall picture of how you spend money, you can focus on potential problem areas.
2. Set goals. How much will you accumulate in bank accounts and investments over the next three years? Five years? Ten years? Have you anticipated future expenses? Say, for example, you’re dreaming of a vacation in Europe for your anniversary. You’ll want to start saving now so you won’t need to finance the trip with credit cards.
3. Build an emergency fund. How much is enough for emergencies? As a general rule, set aside three to six months of your combined gross income in easily accessible accounts, such as savings or money market accounts.
4. Save for retirement. Participate in your employer’s retirement plan and contribute at least as much as the amount your employer will match. The earlier you start saving, the more you’ll accumulate. It’s that simple.
5. Formalize an estate plan. Have an attorney draft a will and set up a financial power of attorney so your assets are distributed according to your wishes in the event of death or incapacity.
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