Best Investments for Couples in 2017

New year, new you, and new opportunities for investing. We’re only one month into 2017, but that means it’s almost time for Valentine’s day, the holiday when couples tend to indulge in a gift or two for their significant other. However, it may also be a time to strengthen your bond on another level: helping each other build wealth with investments for couples.

Here are some good investments for couples in 2017, regardless of what stage your relationship is in.

Starting 2017 Off Right

If you’re still in the fledgling stage of your relationship, then it may not be the right time to bring up the nitty gritty details of your finances. After all, if you’ve been wisely investing but your partner hasn’t, you don’t want to risk losing any of that in a nasty break up down the road.

Instead, take this time to casually talk together about your finances. Ask, “If you got a bonus, what would you do with it?” That will give you an idea of where his or her financial priorities lie. There are no right or wrong answers to this, as long as it opens up a conversation about financial stability and how to work that into an enjoyable lifestyle for the two of you.

However, if you want to start some investments for couples, there are ways to do that without assuming the risk of a breakup. Apps like Acorns allows you to invest your money by rounding off purchases to the dollar, and depositing the excess change in your portfolio. You can split your expenses, helping each other’s account grow in the process.

Another option is to make it a friendly competition: buy some stocks, then see who does better over the next few months. Not only will this help you secure your financial futures, it will ensure that even if you’ve been in a fight, you always have a topic in common to help break the ice.

Making the Move in 2017

Things have been going great in your relationship, and you’re ready to take the next step: moving in together. This is often a telling step for how the future of a relationship will pan out, since you’ll be spending more time in close quarters. A smart investment to make at this stage is — if you both are fairly healthy — to open a health savings account. These health insurance supplements help fund medical expenses you’d have to pay anyway, but these accounts offer a tax deductible advantage. Investopedia explains them as:

“A Health Savings Account (HSA) is an account created for individuals who are covered under high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to save for medical expenses that HDHPs do not cover. Contributions are made into the account by the individual or the individual’s employer and are limited to a maximum amount each year. The contributions are invested over time and can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses, which include most medical care such as dental, vision and over-the-counter drugs.”

Not only will this help you know how to care for each other, but it will also help you save in taxes. Consider stashing that money in bonds or other low-risk investments for couples to help slowly build your financial future together. These types of investments are also simple to keep in separate accounts if joining your homes is the most you’re willing to commit to right now.

Getting Married in 2017

You’ve decided it’s time to tie the knot, which is wonderful, exciting and scary. Even though this is one of most memorable times in your life, it’s also a time when you need to be very practical and realistic. One of the most heartbreaking mistakes families can make is neglecting to have a life insurance plan. You may have access to a term or whole life insurance plan through your employer, but there are other options you shouldn’t overlook.

Index Universal Life insurance, or IUL, is one of these options. You pay your premiums like a normal life insurance policy, however, it’s leveraged against an index, which helps your policy act like a retirement vehicle since it accrues value beyond just the cash value. Additionally, you can use this as collateral to take out a loan on your policy. It’s not uncommon for people to do this if they are trying to start a small business.

Of course, once you begin your married life, you’ll want to have a place to call your own. Real estate is usually something in every couple’s investment portfolio, and that shouldn’t be any different this year, however, you may need to get creative. Forbes reports:

Redfin expects the median home sale prices to gain 5.3% in 2017 compared to 2016, which would not be a major change from the 5.5% year-over-year gain expected to close out this year. Zillow is forecasting the median home value to rise 3.2% from $192,500 between November 2016 to November 2017. Zillow’s home value index rose 6.5% in the year ending November 30th.

While it may be easier to get loans in 2017, it may also be harder to get a good rate. Before jumping into a mortgage, do your homework and make sure buying the home is something you’re sure you’re ready to do together. Real estate is always on the list of smart investments for couples no matter what year it is, but keep an eye on the trends and work with an experienced realtor.

Investments for Couples in 2017 and Beyond

Married life is treating you well, and you’ve got your 401(k)s and IRA accounts going strong. What’s the next step to investing together? If you plan on having kids or going back to school yourselves, consider opening a 529 account. Investopedia explains:

529 is a category of plans that provide tax advantages when saving and paying for higher education. There are two major types, prepaid tuition plans and savings plans. Prepaid tuition plans allow the plan holder to pay for the beneficiary’s tuition and fees at designated institutions in advance. Savings plans are tax-advantaged investment vehicles, similar to IRAs. Rules governing the plans are laid out in Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. They are legally referred to as “Qualified Tuition Programs” and sometimes called “Section 529 plans.”

Whether you choose to use these accounts to help ease the burden of your child’s future education or if you’re saving up for your own higher education down the line, it’s another way to save on taxes and grow your wealth together.

If college isn’t on your radar and your debt is paid down, consider stocks part of your investments for couples plan. Financial stocks stand to do very well under a Donald Trump presidency, as he’s promised to be aggressive about rolling back regulations. However, if you’re worried about volatility in the marketplace, you may want to consider investing in precious metals like gold and silver. These investments tend to do best over decades as opposed to stocks and bonds, but they are also fairly stable when the markets are not.

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