But we are on the same team….right? This was one of my favorite lines that I have heard when working with couples in regards to their finances during my 11 years in the business. After a great conversation about current circumstances, options to move forward and having them both discuss their attitudes towards risk there was a realization that they may not have similar feelings. One spouse turned to the other and asked this very question. After all, it can be easy to assume that we are planning and executing in the same direction but it takes the important step of discussion between couples to make sure that the boat is going in the same direction.
Some of the important things that should be talked about are our views on spending vs. saving, how important it is to have a secure retirement compared to enjoying experiences now, our family history of how money was viewed, and our ability to sleep at night when it comes to the risk-level of our investments. It is also important to discuss our attitudes toward money. Some people never worry about finances and others lose sleep over them. I know that most couples have a basic understanding through observation and some light discussion regarding the financial behaviors and tendencies of their significant other but there are some that confess to me that they are not quite sure that they have the same goals in mind. This is a great time to open up and begin to write down those goals. They can be big, hairy audacious goals like retire by 50, or they could be very specific goals like saving $10,000 for each child to help them with college. Without writing them down, it is hard to know what the other person is thinking and feeling in regards to their financial future.
All too often, failing to discuss topics like this can lead to confusion or even bitterness towards each other. It can become such a big issue that at best it sets back the couple from being on track for their goals and at worst can cause the partnership to fail and they split up because of finances. We have found that beginning each meeting with new clients, it is imperative to have them talk openly with us and each other about their views on topics such as these. There are so many more too! Should we help kids for college? Should we help mom and dad with money if they are having a hardship? Should we save money for a child’s wedding? How much can we earnings can we spend without running it past each other? This is just the beginning…but if there is a good discussion and an understanding, any couple can get to where they know that they are on the same TEAM!