“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” —Alan Lakein
It’s no secret that nurturing your marriage is always a work in progress and that it takes time. Couples often forget that every couple has financial challenges no matter what their level of wealth may be. The fact of the matter is no matter how much you love your spouse, trying to manage your lives and plan for the future can be challenging.
The biggest struggle for most couples when it comes to planning their future is knowing how and where to start. In reality, that’s an easy question to answer!
If you’ve found as a couple, you don’t know what to do when it comes to planning for your future; it’s time for you to find someone with experience who can come alongside you and be your guide. Once you’ve found a few candidates (referrals from other couples is an excellent resource for this), you’ll need to make sure that they are the right fit.
A financial advisor refers to anyone who helps their clients manage their money. A financial planner generally refers to those who have specific areas of expertise that they work in, such as retirement planning or education funding planning. Financial advisors and financial planners often hold different certifications and licenses and liability levels.
Don’t be afraid to ask your financial advisor/planner lots of questions. They are going to be responsible for your assets. They are working for you. Here are a few questions that were shared by financial planners in the ONE family to help you get started.
Questions to Ask Your Financial Guide/Planner:
- Tell me your “money story.” What events in your life have shaped how you view and/or use money? How do these events impact how you operate your business. In what way do they affect the advice you provide?
- How do you define stewardship? (If the advisor is a believer)
- Can you briefly describe your Biblical worldview? (If the advisor is a believer)
- Are you a Fiduciary? (Fiduciaries are legally responsible for acting in their clients best interest. Not every financial advisor or planner is a fiduciary.)
- How do you get paid? Is the compensation based on commissions, fees, or both?
- What credentials do you have? (Certified Financial Planner, etc.)
- What is your process to avoid conflicts of interest?
- Do you have a succession plan for your business?
- How often do you interact with your clients?
- Are there any investments that you can’t or choose not to utilize?
- What services do you provide?
- Do you have a specialty?
- Do you have an account minimum?
Once you find a financial professional that works for both of you, you can get to work.
What are those BIG areas that you need to plan for? For most couples it’s retirement, buying a house and kid’s college funds. It’s never too early to begin making a plan for any of these areas.
Some key advice:
- Don’t overspend on your house or your lifestyle. You can have unlimited wants but you do have limited resources in the amount of money you have to spend.
- Consider ALL the costs associated with buying a house. Besides the down payment and the mortgage you have to be able to afford property taxes, insurance and maintenance. Most advisors suggest that this is no more than 28% of your income.
- Fund retirement before college for two reasons: 1) You can’t take a loan out for your retirement and 2) You can negatively impact your future by paying for your kids present.
- If you don’t know what to do ask!
Building financial intimacy and talking about the future is a lot like building sexual intimacy: It’s awkward at first but once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless.
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