(Money Magazine) -- Michelle Spranger and Scott Zuckerberg have been husband and wife for eight years, but they've yet to marry their finances.
Scott, 43, has a full-service broker, variable annuities, and a union pension, while Michelle, 42, uses a discount brokerage account and IRAs. Neither knows what the other is doing.
"The only thing we have together is a checking account," Michelle says. "We need to merge and have a common goal."
Troy, Mich., planner Warren McIntyre agrees. For starters, the couple aren't even sure how much they're saving annually. Both are self-employed: Michelle is a freelance producer, meeting planner, and writer earning $90,000 to $115,000 a year; Scott makes $60,000 to $75,000 as a lighting and rigging technician for films.
With fluctuating incomes, they must be really diligent about saving. McIntyre's advice: Sock away at least 15% of their pay. That, plus Scott's pension and their real estate, should get them to a comfortable retirement.
1. Aggregate their accounts. Michelle uses Quicken to balance the couple's checkbook and to keep tabs on her accounts. McIntyre suggests tracking Scott's accounts there too -- and for the couple once a year to go over their accounts together and rebalance their investments.
2. Use tax-deferred accounts. Michelle can use her SEP-IRA to hit her 15% savings target. Scott, who isn't eligible for a SEP, can fund a Roth IRA (after deducting expenses, the couple's adjusted gross income often allows for it) and should use that plan and taxable accounts.
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