Dear Dr. Don,
I’m getting married this May. I’m 29 years old, while my fiancee is 26. I have a retirement plan through work that matches my contributions with $1.50 for every $1 I invest. I also have a Roth individual retirement account, in which I initially invested $10,000. My fiancee doesn’t have any retirement savings at all.
Coming in to the marriage, I’m also bringing a sizable amount of student loan debt (income-based repayment). My fiancee has a small mortgage on a really good home. What steps do you suggest we take to secure our shared financial future?
— Zack Attacks
You’ve already done a lot toward investing in your future together. You’re saving for retirement. She’s a homeowner. Together, you’re saving for retirement and to own a home. That’s not bad at all for a couple in their 20s.
Ideally, you should contribute up to the limit of the corporate match in the retirement plan. Your company’s match appears to be very generous. It’s more common for employers to provide 50 cents for every dollar an employee contributes.
Chipping away at the outstanding balance on student loans can make the most sense. That includes income-based repayment, but not at the expense of retirement savings. I wouldn’t suggest raiding the Roth IRA for loan repayments either, by the way.
Best wishes to you and your fiancee as you start your financial life together.
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