Financial interest and financial engagement don’t always go hand-in-hand. Often, one spouse handles the lion’s share of a couple’s financial matters. This doesn’t mean, however, that the other spouse isn’t interested in learning more about the management of their wealth or getting involved in the financial conversation.
If that sounds familiar, it’s time for you to pull up a seat at the financial planning table. Why start now? The reasons are many.
First and foremost, knowledge breeds confidence—in both your investments as well as your financial future. Having a clear understanding of your complete financial picture helps you realize that no matter what obstacles life may throw in your way, you’ll be able to weather the storm and stand on your own two feet. That’s true independence. But it can only be achieved by taking part in the discussion.
It’s important for your advisor to know that you and your spouse may be driven by very different financial motives. For instance:
- Your spouse may be laser-focused on portfolio performance and maximizing returns;
- Your concerns, however, may revolve around financial values and how best to use wealth to benefit your family and the charitable causes you care about.
These differing views can actually be a good thing. Competing interests often help bring more balance to your wealth management strategy.
There’s also a chance that at some point in your life (due to death or divorce) you might find yourself solely responsible for your finances. Being financially savvy can help eliminate a major area of concern during an already stressful time. As the old proverb rightly advises, “forewarned is forearmed.”
Fostering financial collaboration
The following are just a few of the many ways couples can begin to level the playing field when it comes to financial literacy:
- Set aside a day each month to sit down and talk about your short- and long-term financial goals and review monthly expenses. Use this time to ask any financial questions or voice any concerns you may have (e.g., taking on too much investment risk in your portfolio).
- Every few months, consider inviting your Truist Wealth advisor to join you as a couple to focus on one specific financial area such as retirement income planning, insurance or estate planning.
- Take advantage of our collaborative financial planning platform to review your finances together. This can help to quickly get the less-involved spouse up to speed and serve as the basis for asking questions about any issues that might not be clear.
- Keep your financial discussions positive. Open a bottle of wine. Be upbeat, and try not to criticize decisions or assign blame. Agree to focus on positive actions you can take moving forward, rather than dwelling on any past financial missteps.
There’s an old African proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” You’ve got a better chance of achieving your financial goals when both partners are active participants in making important decisions. Not only does it provide an additional and often fresh perspective, it can help offset some of the inherent biases that each of us brings to the table.