Money, Marriage, and Financial Security
Plus, an important update for precious metals investors
FTMDAILY.COM – The idea of planning for your financial future probably does not pop into your head very often. It is certainly not an enjoyable topic for many individuals and families in America (especially married couples). Today’s show is aimed at changing this sentiment. Too often we procrastinate or avoid the topic of financial planning altogether, which can be devastating to our marriage and our future.
Allow me to tell a heartbreaking, but very informative story about a young man I knew when I was a financial planner.
Just before I exited the financial planning business in 2009, I had a client who was a younger man with a wife and young children. He had worked hard at building a nice portfolio of rental properties, which provided a steady and sufficient income for his family. The main problem that I noticed in his financial plan was that all his rental properties were on the rough side of town.
I knew that if this man were to die unexpectedly, those rental properties would be the only means for his wife to continue to have an income. However, his wife had expressed that she would never feel comfortable managing the properties due to their location in town. Therefore, I recommended a term life insurance policy that would give the wife and children plenty of money to live on so that, in the tragic case that he should die, she could take her time liquidating the rental properties (or finding a qualified and trusted property manager).
The client fought the idea of life insurance, citing that he hated the thought of overpaying or being overinsured. However, after a couple more conversations, he was convinced that it was the right thing to do in order to protect his family.
Shortly thereafter, I left the financial planning business behind and handed this case over to one of my most trusted colleagues who picked up right where I left off. About six months later, I received a call from my former colleague saying that this young man had died in a tragic automobile accident. I was stunned! This was a sad day indeed. However, to make the story even more heartbreaking, the young man had his life insurance paperwork in the passenger seat of his vehicle. The paperwork was mostly completed, but the man had not taken the final steps to put this insurance policy in force.
This is a true and heartbreaking story that reminds me of how important it is to have a financial plan in place sooner rather than later.
It’s easy to become reactionary in life, simply doing whatever needs to be done at the moment, instead of living with purpose and operating according to a wise plan.
This young man had definitely become proactive. He had taken an important step to protect his family, yet when it came time to execute on that plan, he stuttered. And it cost his family dearly.
Friends, it’s time to create a plan. You may hope you will get a higher paying job… hope your loved ones will make the right decisions for you after you pass… hope your debt will go away… hope your stocks will go up… but hope is not a valid financial strategy.
Some of you may say, “Jerry, I would love to create a financial plan, but it’s completely pointless because my spouse is not on board.” This is a major cause of poor or no planning. In fact, couples who reported disagreeing about finances once a week were 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about them once a month, according to a Utah State University study.
In another survey, published in the Forum for Family and Consumer Issues, finances proved to be the leading cause of conflict in marriage, with 39 percent of respondents listing it as their primary issue and 54 percent as their secondary issue.
For some people, money is the one thing that is simply too sensitive to talk about because it can lead to fights.
For many couples, this is because they have taken on too much debt. For others, it’s because perhaps there is a lack of trust due to one spouse hiding money, or concealing the truth about debt or spending. One of the things my wife Jennifer and I do is always discuss any purchase over $25 with each other. It’s one of the best things we have ever done because it keeps the communication lines open about money on a regular basis.
Action Point #1: Determine your spending threshold above which requires a discussion. In other words, any purchase made by either spouse that will cost above a certain amount (let’s say $25) gets a discussion. It’s not because you want permission or that there is no trust (although for some couples, you may have to re-build some trust in this area), but rather it is a courtesy for your spouse to inform him or her that you will be making a purchase and why.
Another reason many couples do not have a financial plan is that they have differing or even opposing views on money and/or debt. Most of us are not taught very much about money in school. We learn from our religious upbringing, the examples set by our parents, and then finally, by the banking and financial industry. Married couples who enter into their marriage with a poor or even no financial education should not expect their financial situation to turn out positively. So, another great step you can take is to educate yourself about money together with your spouse.
Action Point #2: Get a financial education… together as a couple. You may want to start out by simply reading a book about money together (my book Bankruptcy of Our Nation is a great place to start). You can also take a local class or seminar or simply put together a YouTube playlist about money and finances for you and your spouse to watch on the couch in the evening (here are a few good videos you can start out with).
Financial Freedom – Level One Videos
Married life is complicated even without the topic of money. My wife and I had an issue (thankfully not about money!) early on in our relationship that was terribly frustrating and caused an argument nearly every time we brought it up. It was difficult to work through it because we both feared disturbing our peace by bringing up this topic. But we finally decided to get outside help from a professional counselor. We learned very basic concepts about healthy communication and conflict resolution and were able to work through this issue in a matter of a few months.
If you allow something to fester in a marriage, it can become something that you will never talk about because it brings unrest and arguments. For many people, that topic is money. You are listening to me (or reading), and you may be frustrated because you want to implement some of the things you hear, but don’t feel like your spouse is on the same page. It’s time to get outside help.
Action Point #3: Seek professional financial advice from someone who shares your values. This is a great first step to opening the communication lines about money in your marriage. This will force you to have a candid conversation about your finances with a neutral third party in the room. Perhaps you don’t have any stress in your marriage about money, but you want some expert advice on how you can maximize your money and achieve your goals. This is a great way to accomplish that. Click here to find a Christian financial advisor in your area.
Are you and your spouse nearing retirement and looking to create income you cannot outlive? Click here to find an advisor who specializes in retirement income. Be sure to put “retirement income” in the Additional Info box.
Tom Cloud – Precious Metals Advisor
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