Points to Remember

Corinne's Priorities

Corinne Taylor-Lamont

Age: 36
Occupation: Events Co-ordinator

“When I got married, one of the first things I did was to update the beneficiary listing on my company retirement plan and for all my other investments. Then I wrote a will. I made sure my husband did so as well because women have longer life expectancies than men and Perry is already ten years older than I am. (If you call me Morbid, I’ll answer!)

Along with adding my husband (and then children) as the beneficiaries to my assets, I ensure that my name is listed as at least joint owner on all of our family accounts and investments (including the biggie, our house), again to secure my position if the unthinkable should ever happen.

We designated Perry as the ‘take charge’ man for paying bills and keeping track of our shared income and expenditure, but I pretty much know the state of our affairs at any given time. I’m proud of our preparation, our dedication and our consistency with regards to our financial lives. We hold monthly meetings to discuss our present and projected financial situation and before we even said ‘We Do’, we had put together our plan for the future. Some things still stand (develop and maintain an emergency reserve fund) and others we had to modify (instead of saving money to send two children to university, we now have to plan for four!)

Apart from preparing for as many forms of ‘rainy day’ as you can as a family unit, it should be every woman’s priority I think, to ensure that she is able to manage financial issues on her own. Opening personal investment accounts helps to nurture that independence so I would recommend that.”

FIRSTLINE POINTS TO REMEMBER

TO-DO LIST FOR COUPLES

  • Know your financial selves then get to know each other. You may have a moderately aggressive investment outlook but a very conservative partner; you may be a spendthrift married to a penny-pincher.
  • Establish a budget and track your combined spending.
  • Create a financial plan.
  • Discuss your goals: short, medium & long term
  • Decide how much to save/invest and from where the funds will originate
  • Determine the level of risk you can tolerate as a unit
  • Keep the beneficiary designations on your investment accounts and wills updated.
HEADS UP MY GIRL!
  • Women are likely to live longer than their male partners
    • To be frank: there may come a time when you are solely responsible for the family’s finances. It doesn’t really matter who writes the cheques or who keeps the accounts now as long as you make financial decisions together and nothing is a secret or a puzzle.
  • Women are likely to earn less than their male partners
    • If this reflects your current situation, do not apportion the investment deposits 50-50. This may appear equal but is not equitable as you have less discretionary income available for investing.
  • Women are likely to use their income for everyday family expenses...
    • ...While their partner’s income goes towards both family and personal investments
    • The only thing worse than an inequitable 50-50 apportionment of the investment responsibility is a 0-100 apportionment! This is particularly applicable for the couples who do not hold joint savings & investment accounts.
  • Women earn less, spend more of their working years outside of the workforce (and unpaid) taking care of children and elderly parents, and live longer.

You need to save more & invest seriously to ensure a comfortable retirement.