Engaged? Plan Your Financial Future Too.
I often hear that money is among the most divisive topics in a marriage. And it’s true. Money is an extremely emotional topic. Arguments about money stem from every direction: different lifestyle expectations, bad habits honed prior to the nuptials, best (or worst) practices that were once modeled by a parent, attitudes about freedom, attitudes about security, attitudes about power….the list goes on.
This material is for general, educational use and is not a solicitation to sell any insurance product or security. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company.
The Dress is Important. But Not That Important.
Far be it from me to deny a woman the opportunity to purchase a killer outfit, but please don’t forget that there are larger issues to tackle during the wedding planning process. Like the merging not just of your personal lives but your financial lives too.
Consider setting aside time for you and your spouse-to-be to discuss your financial habits, share credit scores and investment portfolios, and most importantly, review your financial expectations for your shared future. These conversations are difficult, they will be much more difficult to broach after the nuptials.
Shop for a Financial Advisor Who You BOTH Like.
I cannot tell you how many women have approached me over my career and told me that they dislike their financial advisor, (“He ignores me!” “He never looks me in the eye,” “He doesn’t explain things,”) but their partner did all the choosing and they’re stuck working with them. If these same women had the same complaint, only this time it were over a family doctor rather than a financial advisor, I don’t think any of these women would have even blinked at switching doctors. So what gives?
It doesn’t have to be this way. Prior to your nuptials, I recommend that you interview 3-5 different financial advisors together. Go into each interview with questions about their philosophy, their work style, and their success record. Then ask them to explain a financial product to you. Do they use simple language or do they pepper their explanation with jargon? Do they pose questions to both of you rather than just one of you? Do you feel comfortable? Respected?
Don’t wait. Consider getting life and disability insurance.
So many couples think that they only need life insurance once they have a child. Untrue. Life insurance can be a powerful tool. (Talk to your new financial planner about it!) Moreover, should something tragic happen, the expenses incurred with illness or death can be mitigated by your policy.
This is important even in relationships where both spouses have full time jobs. Just because each of you are prepared to support yourselves, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to in the days or months following a hardship. Dealing with a spouse getting ill or hurt or even dying is difficult enough. A life insurance policy is an important buffer that can help you feel more secure. Disability insurance pays you for a portion of your income if you are sick or hurt and cannot work. After all, your most valuable asset is your ability to earn an income. So, why not insure it like you do your home, auto and collectibles?
Vow to talk about money
The more that the two of you talk about money, the less stressful the conversation will be. So make a date once or twice a month to open the books and discuss where you’re at and what you both can do to ensure you’re moving towards your happy ending together.