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4 Money Tips for Couples from Advisors

Sasha Grabenstetter February 29, 2024

financial planning for couples

Refining how you approach financial planning for couples is a smart move. Money can be a sensitive topic in any relationship. Nearly 1 in 5 couples say money is their most acute relationship challenge, and oftentimes these types of clients are looking to you for solutions.1

Fortunately, advisors have discovered reliable ways to open the lines of communication and get clients on the same page. Here are four strategies you can suggest to couples seeking financial harmony, sourced from financial planners:

1.      Getting “Financially Naked” with Each Other | Meredith Moore:

“It’s so important that both partners have a truly honest conversation about each other’s income, expenses, assets, and debts. Ideally, it’s done without judgment. This allows both partners to share what they make and what they spend without secrets. Without transparency, trust breaks down, and it’s difficult to move toward a shared financial future.”

2.      Setting Monthly Money Dates | Stephanie Bucko and Cristina Livadary:

“Successful money dates help people grow closer to one another, learn things about themselves, and make space for vulnerability, curiosity, and whatever other emotions might accompany those feelings. But when it comes down to it, money conversations do run the risk of provoking negative thoughts and difficult emotions. You’ll want to set rules to make these dates as safe as possible: allow each other to admit failures, to ask questions, and ask for critique. Do not judge or criticize during these conversations.”

3.      Creating Financial Autonomy | Eric Roberge:

“If you don’t want to merge everything together and hold everything jointly … use a bucketing strategy. You can have ‘ours, mine, and yours’ accounts. Keep a joint checking account that you each contribute a certain amount of money to each month and pay shared expenses from/contribute to jointly held goals or investment accounts with. Then you each have your own personal checking accounts (where your pay is deposited), and once you make your agreed-upon contribution to the joint account, you can both do whatever you want with the money remaining in your individual accounts.

This can provide some more freedom and a sense of autonomy for couples who have really different money management styles, while still syncing up on both joint expenses and joint investments or savings.”

(Learn more about Beyond Your Hammock’s unique approach to serving clients in this case study.)

4.      Trying Out Financial Therapy | Hilary Hendershott:

“For money communication issues, the solution that works best for many of our clients who are in a financial partnership is financial therapy.

Financial therapy focuses on you and your partner’s beliefs, behaviors, and relationship dynamics around money… and all in a safe, non-judgmental space. When financial therapy is done the right way, it helps nurture the conversation so you and the most important person in your life can see what each other is saying. The ultimate goal is to bring awareness and empower both of you to adopt a more compassionate, honest perspective with love when it comes to money.”

Helping Couples Talk About Money

By transforming those sometimes-dreaded money conversations into opportunities for connection, growth, and achieving shared goals, you can make a significant difference in the lives of clients. It starts with gaining a deeper understanding of the individuals you serve and tailoring your approach.

New Resources to Explore

Taking personalization to the next level is a best practice for top advisors. Recent eMoney research shows that one of the top five most important actions you can take is to learn about your clients’ money behaviors and attitudes to deliver on this.2 Explore the other four impactful financial psychology actions in our newest eBook, The New Value Proposition for Advisors.

If one of the couples in your practice is locked in a cycle of conflict, you’ll also want to check out our Candid Conversations: Couples, Money, and Conflict guide. Within its pages, we’ve curated the insights of experts in financial therapy on how to handle conflict with care.

Sources:

1. Fidelity Investments, “2021 Couples & Money Study,” July 2021.

2. eMoney Beyond the Plan Research, July 2023, n=504 advisors, n=1,003 end-client investors.

 

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

The views and opinions expressed by this blog post guest are solely those of the guest and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of eMoney Advisor, LLC. eMoney Advisor is not responsible for the content, views or opinions presented by our guest, nor may eMoney Advisor be held liable for any actions taken by you based on the content, views or opinions of the guest.

Image of Sasha Grabenstetter
About the Author

Sasha Grabenstetter, AFC®, BFA™ is a Financial Planning Education Consultant at eMoney Advisor. She is an integral part of the internal and external financial planning education programs, as well as financial planning content development. Sasha won the 2020 Outstanding Symposium Practitioners' Forum Award from the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. She previously co-authored “Apple Seed: A Student Guide to Pro Bono Financial Planning” and “All My Money: Change for the Better.” With close to 10 years in financial education, Sasha received her AFC® designation in 2015 and graduated with her master’s degree from Texas Tech University in 2012.

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