12 Investment Mistakes Couples Make

May 13, 2008


Through my years as a financial planner, I’ve worked with a lot of couples and, unfortunately, seen many of the same money mistakes over and over again. Disappointing, yes … but also a sign that good advice for couples could help many families dodge these common investing pitfalls.

In a recent article on Bankrate.com, Dana Dratch touches on 12 investment mistakes that couples frequently make and offers advice from financial and legal professionals. As you listen to the show, I’ll touch on and share my opinions on these topics:

  • Too many accounts. The family financial picture is one big pie and we’ve all got to be on the same page. Adding an excessive number of accounts only adds an excessive amount of confusion.
  • One spouse deals with the adviser. Developing a family financial or investment plan requires both spouses to be up-to-date, well informed, and thoroughly engaged.
  • Not saving enough for retirements. Is 10% really enough? Pension plans are a thing of the past and Social Security is in need of a dire make-over. Retirement is now on your shoulders!
  • Too much in cash. Historically, equities have outperformed cash returns and will continue to do so. Price inflation and income taxes often lead to negative inflation-adjusted returns on cash accounts.
  • One party isn’t getting a voice in investment decisions. So often the aggressor in the relationship steps up and drags the spouse behind. Investing is a process, and when dealing with couples, it’s a process that requires teamwork. Both parties must "buy in" to the plan. We don’t want to wake up one day and find ourselves asking, "What did he/she do?"
  • Failing to diversify. How are you truly spreading out the risk of your overall portfolio? It’s not just a stock and bond game anymore. Are you exposed rationally to global markets and non-traditional asset classes?
  • Common goal. There must be a goal, and that goal must be for both parties involved. For what reason are we saving this money? There must be roadmap of hopes and dreams.
  • Skipping account maintenance. What should require more attention: a 4-year automobile or a lifetime retirement? This doesn’t mean that changes have to be constantly made, only that accounts need to be consistently reviewed. Who is the beneficiary on 401(k) and life insurance?
  • Commingling inherited assets. This is a "his vs. her" inheritance. If both individuals are working towards a common goal, it shouldn’t matter if it’s titled in both names so long as it’s for the long-term benefit of both.
  • Investing in things we don’t understand. Don’t let your adviser play pin the tail on the investor. It’s your money and you need to understand what you’re doing with it.
  • Adviser conflicts of interest. Do your research and be sure you know how your adviser is being paid for helping you. Are they incented to help you … or are they incented to sell you financial products?
  • Maxing out employer retirement contributions. I’ve said it over and over: it’s free money, TAKE IT!

As a financial planner, I’m privileged to help couples work together to reach their shared goals. It’s a wonderful thing — but a wonderful thing that needs to be done the right way. Making sure that your financial lives are happy and healthy will make it that much easier to make sure your home lives are happy and healthy.

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed the show, please visit the Apple iTunes website and leave us some positive feedback. They watch for comments and then help promote shows like this one with consistently good feedback. If we can do a better job, drop me a personal email. See you next week 😉


Most Recent Episodes

How to Win With Money in 2023!

Financial resolutions are always near the top of the list of Americans’ most popular New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to save and invest more, pay off debt, or have other financial goals, we will give you the tools you need to win with money in 2023.   In this...

TikToks That INFURIATE Financial Advisors

The most powerful time to get serious about building wealth is when you’re young. So, what is the younger generation learning? Financial Advice (good and bad) is being produced in massive rates across online platforms and TikTok is the new frontier. Is there good...

5 Levels of Wealth AND How to Achieve Them! (2023 Edition)

We believe there are five distinct levels of wealth, but they aren’t solely dependent on income or net worth. We’ll walk you through each of the five levels - including how to know where you are at, how to advance to the next level, and signs you are doing it right.  ...

Average Net Worth By Age in 2023!

It’s time for one of our most anticipated shows of the year: our annual Net Worth By Age show! In this year’s edition, we’ll shared updated numbers and data for 2023 and discuss the most important things for you to focus on in each decade.   In this episode, you'll...

Win Financially During a Recession! (Everything You Need to Know)

The bear market we've experienced in 2022 has been longer than many in recent memory - and some are concerned that the economy may soon enter into a recession. Here's everything you need to know to stay on-track and win financially during a recession!   In this...

The Fed Just BROKE the Car Market! (What You Need to Know)

Car prices have been on a rollercoaster ride the last few years, and it looks like they might finally be coming down. In this episode, we’ll discuss what you need to know about the current car market, pitfalls of buying a car, and how to do it the right way.   In this...

Top 4 Money Mistakes People Make During the Holidays!

There’s a reason why financial resolutions are always near the top of the list in January - many Americans spend the holiday season making financial mistakes. In this episode, we’ll discuss the top money mistakes people make during the holidays and how to avoid them....

Financial Advisors Share What They WISH They Knew About Money Earlier!

Have you ever felt like if you just knew this one thing about money earlier your finances would be in a better spot? In this episode, we’ll share the five biggest things we wish we knew about money earlier!   In this episode, you'll learn: What we wish we knew earlier...

Dave Ramsey vs. The Money Guy: Which Strategy is The Best?

Dave Ramsey has an incredible legacy of helping folks get out of debt and take control of their financial lives. We agree on a lot of things, but there are a few points of contrast. In this episode, we’ll discuss differences between The Money Guy Show and Dave Ramsey...

Top 4 Financial Mistakes We Saw This Year! (2022)

We saw some wild financial mistakes this year during the bear market. From making extreme changes to portfolio allocation, chasing the hot dot, and using too much leverage, we’ll talk about some of the biggest financial mistakes we saw in 2022 in this episode.   In...