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Money Action Plan: Love & Money

Andrew and Angela have no debt, no kids and no mortgage. What could they possible fight about?

Plenty, as it turns out.

Angela takes pride in her frugal ways, while Andrew is more chic than cheap. She’s a saver, he’s a spender. But the couple paid off $30,000 in Andrew’s credit card debt in just two years since they’ve been married. It took sacrifice and self-discipline, but they did it. Together. But now they still find themselves arguing. Most recently, it was when Andrew wanted to splurge on a new TV while Angela said ‘no way.’

While this couple has relatively low expenses and good retirement savings in the bank, they still need a Money Action Plan for long-term goals like buying a home and short-term objectives like taking a much-needed vacation.

Based on their combined income, Carmen calculated that they can manage a mortgage of $340,000, roughly 30% of their monthly take home. In order to come up with the down payment, the On the Money host suggested they borrow from their Roth IRAs. Remember, once that Roth is 5 years old, you can take out up to $10,000 without penalties to put toward a down payment on a home if you’re a first-time buyer. The same goes for your regular 401(k). Check out HUD.gov to search for FHA loans to get you the rest of the way there.

A monthly money meeting is also key. Set aside some time to sit down at the table and iron out the bills, where your income is going, and what you’re saving for. And don’t be afraid to take some cash each month and set it aside for yourselves for something like a vacation Carmen said.

For any couple, Angela and Andrew included, it’s as important to be partners in money as it is partners in love. If your relationship feels strained when the bills start piling up, you’re not alone. But, as Carmen says, communication is the key.