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NEWLYWEDS FACE THE FUTURE

Mark and Marne Milhiser, a newly married couple who have rung up a lot of debt, want to save for their nest egg, future children, and honeymoon, while still managing to cover their bills. Their monthly expenses are $1,750 and their combined yearly income is $77,000. Mark is a teacher and earns $33,000. Marne is an attorney in the public sector and earns $44,000. Like many newbies to the world of personal finance, this eager couple needed some direction.

On the Set

THAT MONEY SHOW set them up with financial planner Karen Altfest of Altfest Co. While Altfest agreed that the Milhisers did indeed have a lot of debt, she explained that their debt was a result of spending money on the necessary. They did not squander their savings on gambling or shopping. Rather, they spent it on a home and their higher education.

As far as saving for a child's college education and for their retirement, Altfest comforted them by assuring them they have plenty of time to prepare: twenty years for college tuition and forty for retirement. The Milhisers are willing and trying hard to save, but the first step is to understand what they have in assets.

Neither Mark nor Marne has reviewed their insurance policies, employer-sponsored retirement plans, or other investment packages. Altfest suggested that they take a few weeks to investigate their different plans and set aside days to focus on specific goals. Another step Altfest suggested is to start savings accounts for their different goals.

As far as taking a honeymoon, Altfest did not feel that this was unrealistic. Her advice was that the Milhisers set aside a small amount each month for a trip, and if they stick to it, after a few years, they will have enough.



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