Prepare for contingencies
. If you haven't done so already, fuel an emergency fund with enough to cover at least six months' worth of basic expenses. That cushion can prevent you from raiding your retirement accounts after a layoff or keep you from borrowing your way out of a crisis. "Debt is the number-one problem that sabotages most couples," says Deborah Fox, of Fox Financial Planning Network, in San Diego.
Before you have children, contribute as much as you can to your 401(k), but don't neglect the Roth IRA, says Barry Korb, of Lighthouse Financial Planning. "It's costing you in taxes now, but down the road, that money is tax-free. Do it while you can afford it." Keep contributing at least 15% of your gross income toward retirement savings, says Nicholas Yrizarry, of Wealth Management Group, in Laguna Beach, Cal. Once the kids arrive, you'll likely have to pull back if one spouse leaves the workforce or to pay for child-care costs. Either way, "the reality is you can't do 15% of gross income because it's not there anymore."
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: 5 Costly Retirement Surprises 10 Things You Must Know About Social Security 10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Retirees The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.