When she began writing her book, The Big Pay Off, Eight Steps Couples Can Take to Make the Most of Their MoneyAnd Live Richly Every After, Sharon Epperson figured she would finish it while on maternity leave.
Life intervened, however, and last year the book which focuses on how couples can plan for retirement, was published by Harper Collins. It took a mere five years to complete.
My husband and I will be married 11 years this years, and I didnt really see any books . . .that talked to us as a couple. There were books for women and building wealth, but nothing for couples, explained Epperson about what motivated her to write The Big Pay Off.
You have to be able to talk about money with your spouse. We were in similar industries, so we can talk shop, but a lot of couples arent able to do that, and how bills are paid at home affects what happens at home. How you communicate about money is a good indicating of how you communicate about other things, added the CNBC correspondent about why couples talking with one another about money, budgets and retirement planning is so important.
The Big Pay Off, is not a theoretical book because Epperson experienced many of the things she wrote aboutshe had a baby and bought a house.
In researching and writing her book, Epperson discovered some of the most common and biggest mistakes couples make.
Not talking about money together at all (is tops). The next biggest mistake is not having a plan that they set up together. Its more like I know Im okay with my retirement, I dont know what you doing with yours, pointed out the author.
In the book, a lot of couplesparticularly baby boomershave this idea of what they want retirement to be like, then they talk to their spouse who says Im not moving to Florida or I like my job, Im not going to give it up, I might want to consult. They have to make sure they are on the same page.
Epperson said another mistake made is thinking that insurance is too expensive. She believes life insurance is critical, and it is not that costly, and adds that anyone who has income to protect should have disability insurance. She acknowledged that this is a bit more pricey but pointed out that, when you have people you are supporting, protecting your income is imperative.
The final thing that shocked me about couples, smart couples, is that they dont have wills. You want to know who is going to take care of your kids should something happen to you, said Epperson, adding that have a plan goes a long way toward affording peace of mind.
Among the tips offered in The Big Pay off, are before you start investing create an emergency fund. Epperson suggested looking at using a Roth IRA for this purpose, or that tax refund that is coming in. She also thinks that couples, who have good credit, should explore taking out a home equity line of credit out now because the interest rates are so much more favorable.
And when you have to dip into the emergency fund, dont beat yourself up, thats what its for, pointed out the television correspondent.
Another understanding Epperson hopes readers take away from the book is the need to have a plan. It is fine to save and invest for retirement, but if there is no plan with goals and guidelines, then the effort is only half done.
In the African American community, Epperson who is passionate about making sure her community understands money issues, said the focus on getting out debt is important but so is the need to save and establish a legacy of proper money management.
Finally, what Epperson hopes that readers will take away is that the worksheets, tips and other simple-to-understand information offer an easily useable guide to help couples begin to build their financial future today.