Love And Money: Financial Planning Considerations For Couples

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By Brett Gottlieb and John Mc Kean

Have you ever fought with your significant other about money? Or maybe a better question is, how often do these fights happen? One-third of married couples fight about finances at least once a month, (1) and disagreements about money are the second leading cause of divorce, just behind infidelity. (2) Even if you are in the minority and arguments are rare, your relationship has probably felt the tension that finances can cause. A study from Northwestern Mutual found that money was the leading cause of stress among Americans. (3) That stress often escalates when you add in a second party who might have different ideas about how to handle money.

Why is it so difficult for money and love to peacefully coexist?

Emotions, Opinions, And Personality, Oh My!

It’s no secret that finances tend to stir up plenty of emotions and cause stress in everyday life, so couples may try to keep the peace by keeping mum about money. In addition, everyone has their own opinion on how to manage money, and most of us also have a unique financial personality. Some of us are savers, some are spenders. Some of us may be conservative, while others are free spirits. These differences can cause friction and discord, which then affects all other aspects of the relationship.

But no matter what the statistics tell us, money doesn’t have to be a stress point in a relationship. Here are a few simple strategies that may help couples avoid financial friction.

Be Honest

Unfortunately, honesty regarding money isn’t a guarantee in a relationship. 19% of adults in a live-in relationship are hiding a bank account from their partner. (4) It’s important for both partners to offer full disclosure of their finances and be open about expenses, regardless of whether you’re married or you live together, have joint accounts or separate bank accounts. You and your spouse should be aware of how you spend your money, especially when it comes to significant expenses, loans, or ongoing fees. By maintaining an open line of communication regarding spending habits and upcoming bills, you may be able to avoid financial arguments.

Time It Right

Since conversations about money are often emotionally charged, choose a time to talk about your financial situation or make decisions when both of you are at your best. Don’t wait until the end of a long, stressful day or right before you have to walk out the door. It’s also important to be preemptive, having discussions to set boundaries and expectations to avoid future problems. In other words, don’t wait until one of you splurges on a new TV or you go over budget on a vacation to set limits on spending.

Cater To Your Strengths, But Work As A Team

Most often, one spouse acts as the Chief Financial Officer of the household, managing all bills, budgets, savings, investments, and insurance policies. However, it can be helpful for both partners to understand their financial situation. If time allows, sit down together once a month for a financial check-in to review credit card statements, account transactions, and other bills and check for any possible errors. Ongoing input from both partners will strengthen your relationship and create a true partnership.

Find What Works For You

You don’t have to go far to find financial advice, but not every system or philosophy will work for your relationship. Glean ideas from experts, family members, or friends, but be flexible, allowing yourself to experiment and find a financial framework in which you both can thrive. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods of budgeting, saving, or debt payoff, and remember that as life changes, you may need to adapt your finances to your new circumstances.

Reward Yourself

Set aside a portion of pocket money that you and your spouse can each spend every month on something you love, whether it’s a massage, a round of golf, or a steak dinner. Along with saving for long-term goals, set small objectives you can reasonably accomplish each month and celebrate your success.

Bring In A Third Party

Sometimes the best way to ease money tensions is to work with an objective third party, whether that’s a financial professional, a marriage counselor, or both. A financial professional can work with you and your spouse to review your financial landscape, identify any gaps in your insurance coverage, assist you in establishing short-term and long-term goals, help you stay on track, and provide professional and knowledgeable advice.

Although the topic of finance can occasionally cause tension, money doesn’t have to become a constant source of concern in a relationship. Invest the time to address spending habits and savings goals, uphold transparency regarding purchases, and communicate effectively.

How We Can Help

At Comprehensive Advisor, we care about your relationship. We want to help you by taking some of the financial burden off your back. If you know that your relationship and your finances would benefit from the objectivity and experience of a professional, we are here to help. Email us at info@ComprehensiveAdvisor.com or call (760) 813-2125 to start your journey toward financial harmony.

About Brett and John

Brett Gottlieb is the founder of Comprehensive Advisor and a financial advisor with nearly two decades of industry experience. He graduated from California State University-Chico with two bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Economics. Brett is Life Insurance licensed in several states.

John Mc Kean, financial advisor, joined Comprehensive Advisor in 2016. He has been in the financial services and retirement planning industry for over six years. John is Life Insurance licensed in California.

Brett and John previously worked as Registered Representatives with Securities America, one of the largest independent broker/dealers in the country, and currently offer advisory services through Legacy Road, LLC, and/or AE Wealth Management, LLC. Both are passionate about educating clients on retirement planning. They take a common-sense approach to the planning process and work with clients to create a retirement road map to help ensure their assets are protected and they receive the income needed to enjoy their future. Based in Carlsbad, California, they work with clients throughout San Diego County. Learn more by connecting with Brett on LinkedIn or email them at info@ComprehensiveAdvisor.com.

Advisory services offered through Legacy Road, LLC, and/or AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM).  

Comprehensive Advisor, Legacy Road, LLC and AEWM, LLC are not affiliated companies. Comprehensive Advisor does not provide tax advice.

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This material is intended to provide general information and is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. 151497

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(1) https://newscenter.td.com/us/en/news/2018/one-third-of-consumers-live-paycheck-to-paycheck-td-survey-finds

(2) https://www.daveramsey.com /research/money-marriage-communication

(3) https://news.northwesternmutual.com/planning-and-progress-2018

(4) https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/financial-infidelity-cheating-poll.php

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