• Christine Lusher

Love and Money; Conflict and resolving differing money ideals

The way couples deal with their finances is as individualised as the relationships themselves. As Financial Planners we see it all, couples who try to keep their finances ‘separate’, one partner who manages the finances while the other is disinterested, or a joint endeavour.

Money can be a challenging topic to discuss; it is emotional and goes deeper than cash in the bank, mortgage, investments, and spending.

A major cause of relationship breakdown is money issues. Communicating effectively with your partner about your financial needs and goals will go a long way towards creating financial stability and improving your relationship.

We are all individuals and it is ok for members of a couple to have unique financial goals. For example, one member of a retiree couple may want to travel overseas, the other doesn’t, but is supportive of the spouse’s travel. Let us acknowledge your unique goals and work out how we can fund them and what the other may crave (house renovations, sporting membership?)

Everyone’s relationship with money is personal and you need to be aware of your own behaviours driving your decision making so you can effectively deal with financial disagreements.

At Serendipity Wealth Advisors we look at your financial affairs both factually and emotionally. Financial planning is about developing strategies to help you manage your financial affairs and meet your life goals. It is about uncovering the life you did not know you could have, did not know you wanted or simply forgot about. Strategic advice means looking at where you are now, and where you want to be, and your partner needs to be included in this journey!

Here are some of the steps we take to work with you on your financial journey:

Reflect on your money history

What does money mean to you and how does this differ to your partner? Are you concerned about not having an income or available cash? Have you always made good decisions with money, or have there been some failures that you are struggling to move on from?

Listen to your partner’s history and reflect on how this differs from yours. If one side of the family always had an abundance of money and the other side struggled, there will be fundamental but not unsurmountable differences.

Set individual and joint financial goals

Setting financial goals is the fundamental element of any successful financial plan. This will help you work out what you both are looking forward to in the future as individuals and as a family.

Financial planners will assist you to articulate these goals and work out how to fund and achieve them. Without setting goals it will be difficult to move past the status quo towards a better financial future.

This can be a life changing experience as often we do not allocate time to sit down and discuss what you are looking forward to in the future. Having that discussion with your partner is important, giving you both the opportunity to communicate what you are both seeking out of life. Having a professional to provide a plan, hard data and accountability is invaluable in this process.

Budgeting for success

Budgeting is the foundation of any financial plan. A budget should be accurate, work for both of you and support your shared goals. There are many budgeting apps and spreadsheets, contact us and we will email you some suggestions.

Agree to the budget and ensure that it meets the fundamental household needs, such as debt repayments, essential living costs and utilities. Then discuss how this can be used to allocate funds to your individual needs and your shared goals. To ensure budgeting success make sure you are both accountable and in agreement with the budget. Communication is the key!

Review and improve

A great future takes planning and getting the balance right between now and the future, is essential.

After seeking advice there will be an initial flurry of activity as you implement your financial plan. After all is in place, you must continue to review and check-in to ensure the strategies you have implemented are working effectively. We are all human and goals change as well and that’s ok! You have decided against climbing Everest in retirement? Health challenges present? Remember to be flexible with both you and your partners goals so you can use your money to fund your best life.

Seek advice from a licenced financial planning professional

Financial advice is not simply product or investment selection advice, but about working with you to best meet your financial and lifestyle goals. At Serendipity Wealth Advisors we love working with couples and finding out how they work and what makes them tick. Watching our clients set and achieve their goals is our ultimate achievement.

You don’t need to deal with money issues alone with your partner, make an appointment via video or in our Newcastle Office to start improving your financial and personal life!