It has long been held that money issues are a main source of stress in a marriage. In fact, many studies put money issues as one of the top three reasons for divorce including a recent survey conducted by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.
Couples often argue over bills, credit card debt, college costs, parental care expenses and the list goes on and on. Is that new addition driving you crazy with cost overruns? Does that racing hobby seem extravagant? There can be endless arguments over money.
The Downside of Marriage Counseling
Marriage counseling is of course incredibly valuable to couples who have serious issues and want to work on improving the relationship. However, if finances are the main course of friction, or even in the top three, a therapist might not be ideal for you to reduce marital problems in the near term.
First, therapists sometimes do not give concrete actions for couples to take, especially when it comes to money. Second, therapy can sometimes take quite a bit of time to start seeing results and money solutions can often can be identified quite quickly, and thus reduce the family conflict sooner than otherwise expected. Finally, therapy usually does not have a defined end date as it’s a process that is highly emotional. Uncovering and creating solutions to financial challenges normally takes a relatively short span of time.
The Upside of a Financial Planner
A financial plan is a defined process of identifying what is going on in a couple’s financial life, asking about goals, then mapping out how to achieve that goal with a standardized set of facts to gather and analyze. In the process, the planner will quickly learn what practices the couple, and each individual spouse are taking that out of the norm of a healthy financial existence and thus creating strife.
For example, a couple together could have made a joint decision years ago to own a vacation home that they both love. However, if that couple cannot literally afford that second home and constantly get into arguments about other bills, but in reality it’s the second home expense that’s the issue, the planner will deliver the bad news to sell the beach house or perhaps suggest alternate ways to keep the vacation home, but reduce cash flow bickering.
A financial plan is, to be fair, part art but it’s mostly process, financial expertise and math and therefore an objective endeavor and work product when done. The plan will tell you how much you should be saving, what you can afford, among many other financial directives, but most importantly what to change so that there is less to argue about.
The first step is to find a Financial Planner that is a complete stranger to you both. You do not want any perception at all that the planner is “on her side or his side”. Second, it is best to hire someone that is credentialed in financial planning, such as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Finally, you want to hire someone that bills by the hour or by the project so that the complete focus is on creating a financial plan that reduces family conflict.
No Financial Planner or Marriage Counselor can force a couple to change their actions for the benefit of the relationship. However, a written plan created by an objective professional will be very hard for anyone to argue with.
MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor is the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors using personalized data, proprietary algorithms, and deep industry experience.