My friends in the financial planning business routinely tell me about couples who do not share information with each other about their finances and how one spouse or the other has no clue about what would happen to them financially if the other spouse were to suddenly pass away. A car dealer also told me that routinely many guys will come in and purchase a car, which is a major purchase. They do not even tell their spouse about it before completing the deal. Another friend of mine was looking for some advice about investments. So I sat down with him to go over what his options were.
I expected his wife to join in and at least listen. She not only did not join in the conversation, she said she had no interest in the subject and felt that her husband would make all of the right decisions. What a mistake in my opinion. In fact now he has been diagnosed with short-term memory loss and probably does not even remember the conversation that we had with each other. This is another reason both spouses should be involved and at least know what the other is doing. Now she has no idea of what he is doing or has done and must investigate at some point. all of this could easily be prevented. It does not mean that she has to make the decisions in this case, but at least know where everything is, how much money is involved and what the investments are.
Discuss Finances with your Spouse – Get in Involved
Even my own wife will not get involved in the details, although I have introduced her to our financial adviser and I routinely discuss investment changes with her, I know she is only half listening.
It is a well established fact that women live longer than men. Chances are that your wife will have to deal with the aftermath of your investment planning. Doesn’t it make sense that she should know what is going on? I purposely used these genders in the previous sentence, since this appears to be by far the norm. With baby boomers retiring in droves it is even more important that everyone take more interest in planning their retirement years.
Men and Women have Different Goals and Objectives for Retirement
It should not be surprising that men and women have different ideas about retirement. Even though you have been with your spouse for many years your plans and opinions about what you would like to do in retirement may be quite different.
The only way to get at this is to start talking about your finances and your plans. Using a financial plan as the catalyst is a good way to start. A financial plan requires assumptions to be made about your needs for retirement. So discussing these assumptions will go along way to getting each other engaged in planning your finances.
Two Heads Better than One
Two heads are better than one anyways and I have definitely found that with my own spouse. Some of her desires are different from mine. She has come up with ideas and suggestions that I would not have thought about.
Sometimes when you state an assumption and someone asks you to justify that assumption, you are going to find out that you cannot. This challenge is good in that it makes you think things through better. So take challenges in a positive light and not as an affront to your planning skills.
Who Is Dominant
This subject may seem archaic. However in every relationship one spouse will be more dominant than the other in various areas. If one cares more or has more expertise, let them take the lead. However never relinquish the topic solely to the other spouse. You need to stay involved for the reasons I mentioned earlier. Make a contribution to the discussion.
Your dominant spouse will appreciate your input and thoughts. Keep a mature attitude about the subject. Do not let your emotions get the better of you.
It is not easy to do a financial plan emotionally with your spouse. But it is well worth the effort. Once you have all of your assumptions made and the facts about your current situation identified, developing the financial plan is pretty simple! Use a third-party to assist in developing the plan. They can act as the common sense expert to help you through this emotional process.