When many people hear the term “financial adviser,” they may think of someone who mostly manages investments. While that may have been true in the past, today you may desire a holistic adviser who focuses on your life goals and relationships. Your adviser could help strengthen your marriage and help you set good examples for your kids.
One important area of focus is the impact of personal relationships on your financial future. Surprisingly, few couples discuss their long-term financial goals and short-term approaches to money management before they get married, in my experience. This can lead to significant challenges down the road as couples with different objectives and spending habits struggle to find common ground. This may be more true as many couples are waiting longer to get married and financial patterns are already well-ingrained.
In the paper “Examining the Relationship Between Financial Issues and Divorce,” researchers found that couples who argue or disagree about finances are 69 percent more likely to get a divorce than couples who don’t. ¹
Talking about money is important, as financial disagreements can have a major impact on relationships. The following tips are intended to help couples foster a positive relationship with money and each other and may improve family dynamics as a whole.
• Communicate: When talking about finances, the conversation should be ongoing. Incomes grow and decline, families change, and unexpected events occur. Regardless of what happens, maintain open lines of communication and work together to come up with a solution. Set aside a time monthly to review and discuss so things don’t pile up.
• Be fair: The way money is handled within a household should be fair and equitable. It is likely that one person will earn more than the other. However, to foster equality, it is important that money is viewed as belonging equally to each spouse or partner.
• Agree on setting limits: You may also consider setting a limit in how much one person can spend on non-essential items without having to talk to the other person. Discuss what this limit should be and make sure it is the same for each person. Whether it is $100 or $1,000, find an amount that makes sense. By setting these limits, each spouse has a certain degree of flexibility, while still seeking consensus on larger purchases.
• Be flexible: Be willing to compromise. Being able to agree on a middle ground related to spending behaviors and attitudes about money will benefit all parties in the long run.
• Be transparent: Not every cent of income needs to be shared with each other, but partners need to make sure they don’t erode trust between one another. Agree in advance that discussions about money will be neutral territory. There will be no ultimatums or criticism, just open and honest thoughts. You will learn from each other and end up being better money managers.
It is never too late to implement some changes. Sit down with a holistic adviser who can help with this conversation. When new issues arise, try to discuss them immediately and involve your adviser for an update to see how these changes may affect your overall plan.
Make sure you have an adviser who is willing to help you achieve your long-term financial goals and work with you to build an ongoing strategy. It is important to set the foundation before you make investment decisions. Focus on your overall financial wellness, not on the daily stock market. This can help reduce stress and improve your relationships as they relate to money.
1 Dew, J., Britt, S. L., & Huston, S. J. (2012). Examining the relationship between financial issues and divorce. Family Relations, 61(4), 615-628. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2012.00715
Patricia Kummer has been a certified financial planner and a fiduciary for over 30 years and is managing director for Mariner Wealth Advisors, a registered investment adviser. Please visit www.marinerwealthadvisors.com for more information or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov). Securities offered through MSEC, LLC, Member FINRA & SIPC, 5700 W. 112th Suite 500, Overland Park, KS 66211.
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