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by Cody Rieland, Financial Advisor
I see it all too often where an advisor will meet with one spouse who handles the finances, but I prefer to meet with both spouses. Financial decisions impact both spouses equally, so they’re decisions we think you should make together.
In the financial planning process, we’re going to look at goals. We don’t want just your goals, and we don’t want just your spouse’s goals, we want to find mutual goals, because you’re going to need mutual commitment. If you have a budget and one of the spouses doesn’t follow the budget, it’s going to throw the whole financial plan out of whack. We want to have goals that fit both spouses’ needs, and we’re going to need them both to commit to make those financial impacts that are going to help them down the road.
The stock market does involve risk, so if stocks do take a plunge or if the market decreases dramatically, by having both spouses involved in the financial planning process, it helps you avoid making emotional or irrational mistakes when it comes to investing.
If you have one spouse handling all the finances and that person dies, you can just about imagine the headache left for the other spouse. They’re probably going to have accounts that they don’t even know about, or they don’t know account numbers or login information.
That’s a life-changing impact on a spouse, and you don’t want them going through more hassle than they need to. Even if you do have one spouse making most of the financial decisions, it’s good for each spouse to have a good relationship with their advisor, so they have a place to turn in case something life-changing happens.
I recently dealt with a situation where a client died unexpectedly. We were very involved with both spouses, so it was a very easy transition. His wife knew exactly what accounts she had. It just made the whole process go so much smoother, and having that relationship with both of them made the process a little bit easier during a difficult time.
Sometimes there’s a scheduling conflict, so we’re more than happy to meet with spouses at different times. The important thing is that they both meet with their advisor at some point. Financial advisors help make complex situations easier to understand. Sometimes people let fear of the unknown keep them from meeting with a financial advisor and starting to plan for their financial future when they should.
Earlier always is better when it comes to planning and investing. When clients meet with a financial advisor, they often feel more educated about what could happen and more confident about their future.
This article is from the October 2016 issue of the Bell Wealth Newsletter. Download the full issue or check out the newsletter archive.