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Maybe your appetite for another conversation about money is like your desire to declutter the garage or deep clean the upstairs, including under the beds. Agh! Could we do this another day?

But this financial conversation is different. The first step to investing is for you and your partner to envision your desired future. Don’t sweat the details right now. Just picture what will make you both happy in 10, 20 or 30 years. The future is actually possible, if you plan for it by investing. This guide will help you open the discussion.

Three Questions for You and Your Partner

Do you and your partner envision the same future? Here are three questions that may help you arrive at a mutual vision. Chances are, your bond will become stronger as you realize that you can make this future possible through investing.

  1. Is there something in your life you want to do by a certain time or age? Live in a specific location? Visit a particular place?
  2. Even if your children are still very young – or not yet born – try to imagine the type of relationship you would like to have with them after they graduate from high school. Do you picture supporting them through college? What about providing an estate or legacy for them?
  3. When do you see yourself retiring? And where would you like to live during retirement? In your present home? In a new home you that you will build? In a warmer climate?
That’s what you’re pursuing – a happy future for you and your partner.

How Much Time Do You Have?

Now that you share a common vision of the future, it’s just a matter of getting there. How much time do you have to work with?

With more time, your money can grow more. Also, you can take greater risks because there is time for your investments to recover if they lose value.

If you don’t have a lot of time – or you do not have a taste for risks – that’s important to know too. There are still investment options for you.

Knowing Your Options

Let’s look at your investment options, but not lose sight of your dreams. That’s what you’re pursuing – a happy future for you and your partner. You just need to choose the right investment assets. Stocks and bonds are two of the most common types of investments, and most investment portfolios consist of a combination of them. Knowing the difference will help prepare you for your first meeting with a financial advisor.

Stocks

Bonds

It’s like owning part of a company

It’s like lending money to a company or government entity

A good way to buy stocks is through a mutual fund, a collection of stocks managed by a professional

A good way to buy bonds is through a mutual fund (or bond fund), a collection of bonds managed by a professional

There will be some risk because the value of companies goes up and down

There is less risk because bonds do not usually fluctuate in value as much as stocks

Potential for greater gains (or losses) over time

Potential for modest gains over time

Listening for Differences

As you talk about stocks and bonds with your partner, you may detect some differences. Maybe one of you is more inclined to take risks than the other. That’s normal. Some people want to invest aggressively with the hope of making more money. Others want to make sure they keep what they have.

The important thing is to listen to the differences – and then look for options that are comfortable for both of you. Remember also that your investment decisions are closely tied to your financial goals. In order to make more money, you do usually have to accept more risk.

Next Step

The next step is to meet with a financial advisor and determine the right mix of investment assets for you.

This information and recommendations contained herein are compiled from sources deemed reliable, but are not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or are offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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