Ready to do something special with your love? How about taking some time together and talking about something that really matters, like each other and your finances?
Here are three conversations to start with the two of you as you ruminate over some rosé.
Conversation Starts 1: Money calls pay off
Fidelity Investments 2021 Couples & Money Survey highlights that couples who make decisions about their finances together experience positive benefits. These are encouraging statistics in contrast to the 2014 American Psychological Associations study, which revealed that 31% of adults with partners cite money as a major source of conflict in a relationship.
In light of these findings, consider these talking points:
- What do you like about your (and your partner’s) approach to money today?
- What do you dislike about each of your approaches?
- How would you like to improve your money conversations?
Conversation Starter 2: Do we focus on the big picture?
Your finances go beyond your monthly cash flows, annual budget and retirement savings. Depending on the nature of your relationship with your partner, seemingly insignificant daily decisions – such as whether you want to book dinner or subscribe to the new streaming service – have the power to affect your quality of life now and your options in the future.
Instead of being overwhelmed by all your choices, focus on the big picture, i.e. the six interdependent pieces that make up your unique financial puzzle:
- Financial obligations to other people
Source: Financial planning: Building your personal roadmap
As part of focusing on the big picture, consider your next talking points:
- Do you understand the details of each of the six pieces in your own financial puzzle? For example, how much of your current income do you save and invest? What kind of investment risk do you take across your pension and brokerage accounts? What is your current payout schedule when it comes to your debt?
- Does your partner understand the details of the six pieces of his / her financial puzzle?
- What pieces of your respective financial puzzles do you share as a couple? Keep separate? Why?
Conversation Starter 3: When did we last talk about ‘WHO’?
If you share the responsibility for one of the six pieces of your unique financial puzzle with your partner, it is important to continually clarify “WHO”:
- Who monitors which piece of the big picture and where is access information stored? To delegate responsibility for a piece of the economic puzzle is not to abdicate responsibility for it. It’s OK if your partner takes responsibility for a piece of the puzzle; however, you need to understand how he / she does it. For example, if you trust your partner to oversee your investments and he / she engages a financial team to manage them, it is important that you have a relationship with the team you know how to contact them. , and you understand how to access your account information.
- Hoh does every piece of the big picture (now)? Hold each other accountable for monitoring your respective parts of your shared financial image. Just as having a gym membership does not make you physically fit, it does not just mean being in charge of a piece of your common financial puzzle that the puzzle gets fit as it should. For example, if you as a team agree that you want to save 15% of your income in pension and investment accounts, then who checks if you do? How does this person keep you both informed of your progress, and how do you as a team adjust your approach in light of your progress?
- ISLANDwnership: As for your investment, insurance and the other parts of your big picture, does the title and terms of each piece (still) make sense? Life is constantly changing. Just because you and your partner agreed to structure a shared piece of your financial puzzle in a certain way in the past, does not mean that it still makes sense to you. Maybe you bought a life insurance policy to cover your children’s education expenses and a large mortgage, and now your children have grown and you have reduced? Maybe you quoted someone as a recipient on one of your accounts and you changed your mind?
There are so many ways to express your love for your partner. Not your wealth and the power it presents to you and your girlfriend every day. Have the courage to be vulnerable to each other, create a safe space to talk about your finances and strategically use your individual and shared resources to realize your dreams.
Vice President, Private Wealth Adviser, Procyon Partners
Caroline Wetzel CFP®, CDFA®, AWMA®, is Vice President and Private Wealth Advisor at Procyon Private Wealth Partners. She has worked in financial services since 2001 and began specializing in wealth management for wealthy multigenerational families in 2015. Caroline earned a bachelor’s degree in political analysis and management from Cornell University and an MBA in finance and advanced certification in marketing from the University of Connecticut School of Business.