While it’s relatively common for one spouse to be more interested in the household finances, both spouses must be on the same page financially.
Because at the end of the day, you and your partner are a team. And if your team is working towards the same goals, you’re unstoppable. But, if your team is divided, rowing in opposite directions, it can make reaching your financial goals extremely challenging.
At IMAFS, we offer financial planning for medical professionals, and we’d like to show you our best strategies for bringing your spouse into the financial planning conversation.
4 Tips for Bringing Your Spouse Into the Financial Planning Conversation
1. Share Each Other’s Money Stories
Each of us has money stories—our beliefs and assumptions about money.
But, our money stories can be very different as they are shaped by our experiences and interactions with money throughout life. Often, we develop our money stories at an early age, watching how our family and friends interact with and talk about money. Unfortunately, different money stories can create challenges for partners.
So it’s important to share.
Talk to your partner about your money stories and ask them about theirs. If you’re unsure what they are, take some time to sit down and articulate your thoughts. Consider answering the following questions:
- What is your earliest money memory?
- What does money mean to you?
- What does money provide in your life?
- How do you feel about money?
The answers to these questions will help you begin to identify your money stories.
Then, discuss these stories with your spouse, and listen to theirs. This should help you understand why you are the way you are with money and what money means to each of you. This will also open the money communication lines, allowing you and your spouse to feel more comfortable and motivated to discuss money matters.
2. Share Your Dreams
Next, it can be valuable to share your dreams.
While you are a couple and will have many shared dreams, you may find you have some individual financial dreams as well. So take time to list them, identifying short, medium, and long-term financial goals. This can be a great exercise as you can begin to understand each other’s financial motivations.
Some of those shared dreams may be:
- Paying off the house to live mortgage free.
- Sending the kids to college without any student loan debt.
- Take a week-long family vacation each year.
- Having enough money to retire early at 55.
Whatever your dreams may be, they can be the motivator for you and your spouse.
The financial planning journey can be long and arduous, causing many to lose interest along the way. But, as a couple, if you can circle back to your shared dreams, tapping into why you’re making the money decisions you’re making, can make all the difference.
And, for many spouses, money just doesn’t seem that interesting.
It can often turn into mathematics, compound interest calculators, and spreadsheets. But, for the spouses that aren’t interested in that, it’s critical to focus on the why—the shared dreams you’re working towards. Those should be the primary focus when developing a financial plan that works for you both.
3. Share What Keeps You Up at Night
In addition to connecting over your dreams, it can be valuable to discuss your fears.
This can be an eye-opening experience as each partner looks closely at what keeps their spouse up at night and what financial fears they have. You may have similar worries, like running out of money in retirement or losing your home. But you may also have different concerns, like a working spouse fearing a loss of employment or one spouse worrying about not having enough money to send their kids to college.
Whatever the case, by understanding each other’s money fears, you can better understand what’s important to each spouse and create your unique plan accordingly.
4. Find an Advisor That Communicates With Both of You
When working with a financial advisor one spouse can often feel left out of the conversation or unheard.
This can cause a seemingly less interested spouse to withdraw further, removing themselves from the financial planning process altogether. That’s why it’s critical to shop around and identify a fee-only financial advisor that speaks to and hears both of you, ensuring both spouses have a seat at the financial planning table.
IMAFS Is Here to Help
If you’re interested in working with a fiduciary CFP® professional that hears you both, then IMAFS is here to help.
We offer fee-only wealth management services for doctors, helping them build long-term wealth while maximizing the enjoyment they receive from their money. To do this, we have a team of dedicated CFP® professionals available in Boise, ID, and the surrounding areas.