October 23, 2014

Before You Say “I Do”: Money & Marriage Exercise 5

Wedding Rings and Money

The final exercise in this series involves computing your net worth. It may not sound very romantic to start off your marriage with a balance sheet, but you’ll understand its importance years down the road. You will only be able to assess your progress if you have an idea of where you began.

Regularly computing your net worth gives you a snapshot of how much money would be left if you converted everything you owned into cash and paid off all your debts.

Many recent college graduates with large loans end up with a negative number, which should not be a big concern. Your most productive asset is your own career right now.

Over time, begin to measure your net worth as multiples of your standard of living. You will need to save enough during your working years to sustain your income needs during what may be a long retirement. My wife and I have six of our eight grandparents who are living well into their 80s and 90s.

At age 65 you can only withdraw 4.36% of your savings to maintain your lifestyle. In other words, to keep the same standard of living, you will need about 23 times what you spend annually minus any social security or pension income you expect to receive in retirement.

Others who are getting married or remarried later in life will want to assess their progress as well. The table here shows by what age you should have saved different multiples of your annual spending. Many will need to become “supersavers” to catch up.

Age

Annual Spending Saved

Age

Annual Spending Saved

26

1

53

11

31

2

54

12

34

3

55

13

38

4

57

14

41

5

58

15

43

6

59

16

45

7

60

17

47

8

61

18

49

9

62

19

51

10

63

20

 

All financial planning begins with a clear understanding of your net worth. Click here to access a template that can help you compute and keep track of your net worth.

This Money & Marriage series is designed to foster healthy relationships built on mutual trust and understanding. As you work through these exercises, consider sharing your experiences in the “Comments” section below. Your experience will help others who will be working through the series.

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About Matthew Illian

Matthew Illian is on the Investment Committee at Marotta Wealth Management, Inc., specializing in small business consulting and retirement plans. He loves spending time outdoors, the less pavement the better, with his wife and three energetic boys. Favorite trails: Forest Hill Park

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