Financial Planning For Couples Who Totally Disagree
When couples have completely different attitudes toward money , most financial plans will fail — and you may lose a client — unless you follow these suggestions .
BY BEN MATTLIN
MONEY IS SAID TO BE ONE OF THE TOP causes of marital distress . The disagreements it causes can go beyond day-today spending for cars , clothes and other creature comforts . Conflicting attitudes toward budgeting , savings , investing or even how to spend retirement money can scuttle the best-laid financial plans .
People today tend to marry later in life , and their preferences regarding a host of factors typically are far more established than previous generations . What ’ s a financial planner to do if a married couple simply cannot agree ? These financial advisors and planners have a few recommendations .
“ It is completely natural and expected to have differences of opinion ,” says Clay Ernst , executive director of financial planning at Edelman Financial Engines in Colorado Springs , Colo . “ As an advisor , I try to work through these differences by bringing objective , unbiased opinions into the discussion , sort of like a referee .”
To be a good referee , though , you must try to stay neutral . “ Remain open to and understanding of each [ partner ’ s ] financial goals and values ,” says Chris McMahon , president and CEO of Aquinas Wealth Advisors in Pittsburgh . “ Come to an agreement that both parties are comfortable with , as well as a plan for how to reach those goals .”
Impartiality is key . “ It ’ s important to hear from both sides , not be judgmental — and avoid fingerpointing ,” says Anna Katherine Davis , a wealth advisor at Gratus Capital in Atlanta . “ Focus on a solution rather than whose fault it is that they ’ re in this situation .”
Let Clients Decide
Advisors can provide numbers and recommendations , she says , but it ’ s up to the clients to decide how they ’ re going to handle their divergent views . In some cases , she adds , a financial therapist can help . “ People often don ’ t realize how intertwined emotions and finances are ,” says Davis .
Failure to recognize all sides , no matter how
PHOTOGRAPHY VIA GETTYIMAGES . COM MARCH 2023 | FINANCIAL ADVISOR MAGAZINE | 37