Money makeover: Married couple, separate finances

*Michelle Spranger and Scott Zuckerberg, Southfield, Mich.*
By Kate AshfordJuly 29, 2010: 11:05 AM ET
(Money Magazine) -- Michelle Spranger and Scott Zuckerberg have been
husband and wife for eight years, but they've yet to marry their

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.

*The solution*
*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
*3. Add bonds to the mix.* Not counting rainy-day funds, just 2% of
their nest egg is in cash and bonds -- too risky. It should be 25%.
Source: CNN.Com