We maintain several escrow accounts for unusual purchases and annual bills, such as insurance and taxes. Our home and car are paid in full.
My wife has a 401(k) account with about $110,000. She also has an annuity, which will pay out approximately $3,400 a month in three years. We have about $200,000 in a money-market account.
I would like to put $100,000 in some dividend-paying stocks, reinvest the dividends for about five years, and then start taking the dividends. The problem is my wife doesn’t want to invest in any stocks.
What would be the best way to convince her to invest?
Thanks for any help.
Many couples disagree when it comes to investing — especially retirement savings they plan to rely on in their old age. I would suggest first you focus less on convincing her, and more on understanding why she’s so hesitant.
Money is a tough topic to discuss and can lead to emotionally charged conversations. Everyone approaches money differently. If they watched their parents or grandparents struggle to pay for everyday expenses, that would obviously have an impact on them. Other people may have seen their loved ones lose money in the stock market, so now they’re afraid to try it themselves. (Great Recession, anyone?)
Sit down with her and find out what’s going on — calmly and respectfully. State the reasons why you think this is a good strategy, but first listen to what she has to say, and try to see her perspective.
There is one critical component missing from your letter: Does $100,000 represent all of your savings? 50%? 5%? If you are investing money in the stock market, you should avoid investing in individual stocks at all costs. Firstly, you are essentially gambling with your money. Secondly, the stock market, as the last couple of years have shown, can be very unpredictable. It’s a long-term investment. If this $100,000 represents a large portion of your net worth, you must proceed with caution.
“ There is one critical component missing from your letter: Does $100,000 represent all of your savings, 50% or 5%? ”
Also, what about a compromise? If she thinks $100,000 is too much for this route, would she feel comfortable starting with $10,000 or $20,000, and gradually upping the allocation to stocks over time?
Understanding your risk tolerance (how much risk in a portfolio you can stomach) is key. Talking about that, as well as what plans you have in place to protect your assets for the long haul, will be crucial.
A financial adviser can help you both figure out your risk-tolerance levels, as well as provide stress tests on a portfolio to see how it may respond to various levels of risk, according to TD Ameritrade. You’d see if you’re really comfortable exposing your portfolio to risk, and she can see how your assets would survive the stock-market rollercoaster.
If you can’t reach an agreement, err on the side of caution. “If you’re the more aggressive partner and you chafe at this idea, consider how you’d feel explaining to your spouse or significant other the consequences of a major drop in your investment portfolio when a bear market roars through,” TD Ameritrade wrote.
Talking to your wife and a financial adviser about investment risks is healthy. You don’t mention your age, but many older investors think they need to pare down their portfolios’ risk levels as they age, and that’s not exactly true. You obviously don’t want to lose your nest egg, but a little exposure to risk (if done right) could provide growth.
Finally, where is your common ground? What are your dreams? Have you put money aside for vacations now or in retirement? Do you have an emergency fund? What is the end goal? This conversation about the $100,000 could lead to a bigger, more meaningful conversation.
You have accomplished so much already, and you likely did that by working as a team. You have paid off your home and car, and you have a money-market account and 401(k) plan. The best course of action is the one you find together.
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