The relationship you develop with your advice-based financial planner is a very important one. Not only will your advisor have a big impact on whether or not you achieve your retirement goals, but he or she can also act as a counselor, mentor, and partner as you go through life. That’s why it’s so difficult if you and your spouse disagree on working with a certain financial planner. In some cases, your spouse may want to ‘fire’ an advisor who you’ve worked with a long time and have come to trust. In other cases, you may be looking for a new advisor together but cannot agree on the right one to hire. No matter what the case, you can usually use the below three tips to come to an understanding that benefits you both.
Try to Understand Each Other’s ‘Why’
When you and your spouse disagree about whether to hire or fire an advisor, it’s easy to get angry and cut off communication. However, when one (or both) of you digs in your heels and becomes stubborn, nothing gets resolved. It’s important to have empathy for each other and try to learn more about the other’s feelings on the situation. Does your spouse feel your advisor doesn’t listen to her concerns? Is it based more on personal issues your spouse is dealing with from childhood that are affecting their actions today? When you use disagreement as an opening to a conversation instead of a weapon to beat each other up, you not only learn valuable information, but you also deepen your relationship. Often times, you will be able to get to the root of the problem and resolve it, which makes not only this decision but many other future decisions much easier to make.
Let the Advisor Speak to Your Situation
Whether you and your spouse disagree about hiring or firing an advisor, I think it’s always worthwhile to give the advisor a chance to address the issue. If he is the right kind of advisor, he’ll challenge you to think more deeply about the decision and will do his best to address your fears, concerns, and questions. Many times, your impression of someone is based on image and not on the real person you may be able to form a relationship with if you just gave it time. When you give the advisor a chance to talk to both you and your spouse, you open the door to communication and education. Whether this resolves the problem or not, at least you are giving the advisor a chance and showing your spouse that it’s worth discussing further.
Make a Compromise
The trick to compromising is finding a way to accommodate your partner’s differing desires without feeling obliged to sacrifice your own. If you’ve not been able to reach a unanimous decision on your advisor through the above two methods, then it’s time to make a decision that will allow you both to get a little of what you want. Perhaps you decide to invest with the advisor you want but get your life insurance policies from an advisor your spouse prefers. Or you may decide to give the advisor a ‘trial’ run so your spouse has a chance to work with him or her and make a more informed decision down the road. Whatever compromise you arrive at, it should not be a full win for either party as that always means that the other member of the couple loses.
When you let disagreements ignite your curiosity—both of the situation itself and of your spouse’s reaction—you open up the flow of conversation and put your relationship in ‘growth’ mode. Do you want to talk more about how to handle financial disagreements with your spouse? Please shoot me an email so we can talk more.
Patrick Tucker, the owner of True Measure Wealth Management, has over 20 years experience in the industry and has spent the last 15 years learning the ins and outs of the fee-only advisory business. He focuses on client behaviors and what ‘wealth’ means for each individual client to provide care-giving plans that lead to a mindful fulfillment of financial goals. A lifelong learner, Patrick uses his continued knowledge to become a valued partner for his clients and help them explore the wisdom of true wealth.