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how to: invest your money

Saving money and learning about investing is always a smart plan. Even if you’re newly hitched, it’s never too soon to start planning for those golden years. Think about it: Do you imagine yourselves lying on a beach or working behind a desk? If you picked the beach (or travel, or golf, or anything other than the 9-to-5 grind), you’ve come to the right place. We have all kinds of investment advice, including the basics of how to invest wisely and what all those financial terms really mean. Not sure where to begin? Start with our five easy steps to invest your money. We also have investing advice and Q&A on all kinds of financial basics about investing -- learn the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA, how to invest your savings, and your options if you can only invest a small amount. Our basic investing advice will help you get ready. But before you invest your money, you should be sure you’re out of debt: Use our debt calculator to help plan your payments, and follow our simple steps to go from credit card misery to debt free. And if your problem is a lack of cash, we’ve got tips for you, too. Learn the habits of spending-savvy couples, and find easy ways to save more of each month’s paycheck and stick to your budget. Don’t want to go it alone? Check out our local pages to find a financial planner in your area for some in-person investment advice.

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Money Q&A: Retirement for Nonworkers?

Q.

The Nest Q&A

I left my job to be a stay-at-home spouse. Am I eligible for a retirement account?

A.

You and your spouse can set up a Spousal IRA for you. If you filed a joint tax return in 2009 and your spouse has earned enough taxable income to cover it, you can each contribute up to $5,000 to an IRA or Roth IRA for a total of $10,000 for 2009.

If your joint adjusted gross income for 2009 is less than $166,000 and the working spouse is not part of a qualified retirement plan, the entire contribution is tax-deductible. If your joint adjusted gross income is between $166,000 and $176,000, only a portion is deductible. If you exceed that amount, you can't deduct. If you or your spouse was covered by an employer retirement plan at any time during the year, your deduction may also be limited, no matter what your joint adjusted gross income is. With a Spousal Roth IRA, contributions aren't tax-deductible. In order to contribute, your adjusted gross income must be under $176,000 for 2009.

-- The Nest Editors

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