Money - It Would Be Good to Discuss It with Your Partner!
More often than not couples fight about money and even in cases where they don’t fight, it doesn’t mean that they are on the same page when it comes to financial matters. A recent survey revealed that in one out of three couples, only one member knows the exact content and whereabouts of the couple’s important financial and legal papers. The fact that many couples disagree about money is not the most troublesome issue; that so many couples do not choose to resolve their financial differences and to keep each other well informed on their financial situation is the issue of greatest concern.
Your partner is your partner in all aspects of life. A couple communicates and plans together for little things, such as where to go out for dinner or when and where to take a vacation, but neglects to take time to communicate and discuss the big things—the couple’s assets and financial future. It is important to make financial planning a regular part of the conversations with your other half. It could be said that one of the greatest gifts of love you can give your partner is to set aside any differences in order to communicate and plan together to ensure that your partner is fully equipped to keep his or her financial house in order should something unexpected to you occur. If you were to ask yourself right now, “Would my partner be able to find all of our assets if something were to happen to me?” and the answer is “No,” it’s time to sit down and start sharing!
Couples should make it a point to discuss financial matters and here are some suggested topics, presented by “generations,” questions that could form the starting point for a financial conversation.
If you are a Baby Boomer (born 1946-1964):
Where do we want to live when we retire or now that we are retired?
Do we plan to keep the house or downsize?
How do we adjust our retirement goals to meet our financial reservoir?
What are we able to do in our retirement? Are we looking to travel the globe or to stay home and work in the garden?
If you’re Gen X (born 1965-1977):
Do we have the right beneficiaries on our insurance policies and retirement savings accounts?
Do both of us know where all the financial records and documents are located?
Are we saving for tomorrow, in addition to for the children’s college, family vacations, weddings, etc.? Have we been conscientiously regularly setting something aside for retirement?
Are we taking enough advantage of resources at our disposal, such as our company’s savings plans and pension funds?
For Gen Y (born 1978-1988):
Do we understand each other’s ideas about investing? Do we know each other’s opinions about all types of financial matters?
Have we already started with something small, such as a joint savings account?
Are we on the same page regarding the big questions: Do we want a family, or want to continue growing the family? Do we want to buy a home or buy a larger home?
What is our plan for saving for our children’s university education?
What is our vision for our retirement?
In your life partnership, don’t leave communication and planning only to the little things. When it comes to the time that one of you is left alone, which is certainly the most likely scenario.
Which restaurant you decided to go to on your thirtieth anniversary or which countries you planned for vacations won’t matter nearly as much as the conversations you had and the decisions you made about your financial future together. Having those conversations now will be a great blessing to the surviving partner, who in his or her grief won’t have to go through the added frustration and pain of having to piece together the couple’s financial picture and determine where he or she and the family stand financially. Planning together and making money-related decisions jointly and in a timely manner can make life a lot happier.