Northington Blog

How Couples Address Their Financial Future Is Changing

 

Growing up in the South, my parents had a traditional marriage based on Dad being the primary decision maker.  Dad believed he knew what to do, how to do it, and what was best for the family.

Mom had very little interest in it and trusted Dad to work individually with their advisory team.  My Dad still conducts his business this way and the advisors who work with him do not have a relationship with Mom.  And Mom never developed the skill set to continue with the plan in the event of my Dad’s death, disability, or even in a divorce.

The primary decision maker paradigm can have “Titanic” consequences   

What has been an act of love in my Dad’s eyes over the years has left my mom dreadfully unprepared to take over the controls of the family financial plan. In my Dad’s eyes his plan would not sink, much like the folks who built the luxury liner the “Titanic” back in 1909 thought.  (Note: my Dad would use the term “his” plan not “our” plan.)  Why is this?  Because Mom never had any input into its design, her wishes, her risk tolerance and never answered one question from their financial advisor.  In fact, I’m not sure Mom would even know him if he walked into the same room.  Am I describing your family plan?  Would you recognize your financial advisor?

The emerging model is a more collaborative partnership 

A financial advisor needs to be skilled at communicating with both men and women.    Can’t you see it?  An advisory relationship built on trust with both husband and wife.  An advisor relationship built on an understanding of the money history of both spouses.  An advisory relationship that understands each spouses perspective to money going forward in their marriage.  It has been our experience that couples walk out of this planning process engaged, having a stronger plan, and in some cases even a stronger marriage.    This is planning that is designed to survive whatever life throws at you and provide what we call “Financial Comfort”.

How do you begin this process?   

  1.  Find a financial advisor who is skilled communicating effectively and recognizes the communication differences between men and women.
  2. Individually, think about your money history and how your life events have impacted your money perspective.
  3. Individually, define the meaning of money in your life looking forward and as a couple.
  4. Prepare yourself to change your money language from “I and My” to “We and Our”
  5. Out of love for each other, commit to the process.

After 19 years of marriage, Debbie our VP of Marketing and I believe this process has strengthened our marriage.  Walking our clients through In-Relationship financial planning has been a real difference maker in our business and our client’s lives.  We hope it will impact yours too!  Contact northington at Stephen.Northington@lpl.com, by phone 501.993.0167 or visit our website at www.planforcomfort.com.

Securities and Financial Planning offered through LPL Financial, A Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC