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I don’t mean planning for how many children you’re going to have, where you live or how you spend your time together. I’m talking about planning for your financial future, hopefully with a competent financial planner.

Don’t let your planner be a car salesman.                                              

If you’re a woman and you’ve ever gone car shopping with your spouse you might have seen this scenario:

You walk into a car dealership to buy a car. The salesman approaches you to help you find the car you want. Then it happens, the car salesman doesn’t even look at you. All he does is talk with your husband.

I bet if this has ever happened you’ve not held that car salesman in very high regard. Don’t let this happen with your financial advisor. Make sure your advisor talks to both of you as equals. Even better yet, let your financial advisor know how he or she should talk with each of you.

Understand the roles each of you play in financial decisions.

One of the challenges for a financial advisor is to know who makes what decision in your family. If you don’t know, spend some time talking with each other to figure out who will take care of what part of your financial decisions.

After you and your spouse figure this out, make sure you let those who help you with your financial and investment planning decisions in on who does what. It’ll help save all you lots of frustration and give you a way to see if your advisor is listening and willing to do what you want them to do.

How does that sound?

What are the underlying values you both bring to financial decisions?

This is something you might want to get help from your advisor on. If the numbers are big enough and the decisions important enough you might even want to participate in a high level values analysis where both you and your husband would find what drives each of you in making financial decisions. This is a service we provide and always provides extraordinary value.

If you then share this information with your advisor, your advisor will be able to help you make better decisions by understanding what your underlying values are.

If you don’t want to go through this relatively time consuming process, at least have a conversation with your advisor about what values you have and what is your personal history around money and investments. Both will help you make better decisions.

Are you able to both handle the same amount of investment volatility?

The problem with investments is they go up and down in value. There is no such thing as a straight line with any investment program.

An area of conflict we often see is when one spouse who is making investment decisions can handle a high amount of volatility (how much your investment increase or decrease in value) and the other spouse has a low tolerance for volatility.

This can be a recipe for disaster, especially if the spouse who can tolerate high volatility is making all of the investment decisions.

What are your communication preferences?

Some of us are extroverts, some introverts. Some of us like reams of detail and others of us just want a summary. Knowing how both people in a relationship want to communicate about investments is a crucial conversation.

I’m hoping your advisor asks you about these things before you start an engagement. If they don’t, make sure you start the conversation. If it’s not something your advisor wants to engage in, you might want to think about finding another advisor.

Have you communicated your values and decision making preferences to your financial advisor?

If you haven’t, I have one question for you, “Why not?” In my world working with clients on personal financial and investment decisions is always based on communication preferences and values.

I’m hoping that you are now thinking about how your values influence your decisions. I’m also hoping that you’ve spent a little time thinking about how you work with your spouse and how you both work with an outside advisor. Knowing the answers to all of these questions will help you make decisions that help make your life better.

Why don’t you click here and let me know what you think about all of this. Or, better yet, click on the button below and set a time to talk with me. I’m willing to bet you’ll get at least one good idea.



Topics: financial planning, values discovery

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