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Money: Do couples talk about money?

19 Jul 2018

When someone tells me about the money habits of their partner, I ask them if they have mentioned it to them. I shouldn’t be surprised when they tell me they haven’t.

Some couples find it hard to talk about their money. You would think it would be on the agenda, especially in those cases when one person earns it and the other person spends it.

Not talking about money in an open and honest way creates stress in a relationship. It might seem easier to not bring up money and each other’s spending habits but ignoring it won’t help.

At the same time, hearing these frustrations from people feels like an opportunity in disguise. Here is a couple that might respond to some good old financial planning!

The financial planning process is ideal in flushing out un-spoken money issues between couples. If we are approached by someone for financial advice we always want to meet with them both (if there is a significant other).

Getting all the issues on the table from both parties, discussed and documented, is a big part of the outcome we are looking for. We try and sell that idea as a major benefit, especially to the men. Some men don’t involve their spouses with the family’s investments (and some spouses don’t want to know).

Whichever way it is, some men come to realise as they get older that their spouses wouldn’t cope with the family investments if they were having to manage on their own. The men have created a complicated investment muddle and there always seem to be several balls in the air.

A great question to ask the one who does the investing is whether their partner could cope if they became incapacitated, or died? ‘Suddenly single’ will happen to half of us at some stage and it pays to have a spouse who knows where to go to get their hands on some money, and then knows what to do with each investment. Simple is good. Ask any estate lawyer how much it costs the beneficiaries to sort out complicated financial arrangements on death. It can be messy.

Simplifying one’s financial affairs is a worthwhile byproduct of financial planning, along with opening up the money communication channels between partners.

Keep asking great questions …

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