Till Debt Do Us Part? How to Save and Invest Without Destroying Your Marriage

Money is the main cause of feuding in many marriages, and those rows may not be limited to debt and spending.

Decisions about retirement and investments can also cause couples a lot of grief, particularly if each partner has a different opinion.

VIDEO: Mellody Hobson takes a look at couples who disagree about investments.
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Couple Doesn't See Eye to Eye on Money

Take Juan Herrera and Joan Toro-Herrera of Teaneck, N.J. They have been married for nine years, and have two sons.

When it comes to money, the Herreras agree that they don't have enough and that they should try to make more. But they have different takes on how their money should be spent.

She wants to sell their depreciating home; he wants to wait until the market picks up more. He describes himself as a "workaholic" and isn't looking to retire until he's at least in his mid-60s or mid-70s. She wants to stop working at 55.

And on the subject of investment, their views are diametrically opposed.

"I am very wary of investments. And I shy away from making them, especially if they're not safe," she said.

Her husband is the complete opposite.

"When it comes to money, I believe that I'm definitely a risk taker. I'm not satisfied by just keeping money in … a savings account," he said. "If I see that there is a vehicle that could make a lot more money for my family, whether it be in stocks, investment properties or a business, I'll take the risk."

So, who is right?

They both are, said Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments and "Good Morning America's" personal finance contributor.

She said couples should try to save as much as possible, but investing is important, too.

Hobson said that many good companies give great returns on investments. Even though the economy has been down, the stock market has rebounded, and is up 55 percent since its March 2009 low, she said.

She advised that couples maintain an emergency fund to cover six months' worth of expenses, plus some additional cash on hand, but she said that it doesn't make sense for people to put their additional money in savings or money market accounts. She said money market funds are returning less than 1 percent.

The House: To Sell or Not to Sell

On the question of whether couples should sell a home that is devalued because of the depressed housing market, Hobson said people should think about staying in their home if they can.

If they wait out the downturn -- at least another year or two -- they should be able to sell their home for a larger profit, she said. Of course, the tradeoff will be that they will pay more for their new home, but they also get more for the home they sell.

But Hobson also noted that, for many people, this is the right time to buy. That's because the interest rates on mortgages are at historically low levels, and the government's tax credit for first-time homebuyers and repeat buyers has been helpful. She did acknowledge that this is a bad year for sellers because they aren't getting the prices they want.

Click HERE for Mellody Hobson's quick tips on how you can avoid money problems in your marriage.

When Is Right Time to Save?

Everyone should put some money away in savings, but many people don't save enough -- or at all.

Hobson cited a recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute that found that only 18 percent of workers felt very confident that they would have enough money to retire in comfort.

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