Wealth Management in Baton Rouge: How Do I Love My Spouse Well in Retirement
As financial planners, our responsibility is to help our clients ask and answer questions that NOBODY wants to ask and answer due to fear. Fear is based on lies that people believe. And it spreads, often unfortunately resulting in one spouse being excluded from retirement planning meetings. Why? Because of fear-based lies like:
- You or your spouse is not smart/savvy/tough enough.
- You or your spouse does not have what it takes in math to understand your own money.
- You don’t have time to carve out a couple hours of your day.
Should I Include My Spouse in Retirement Planning?
To further complicate matters, there is truth in the notion that happily married couples implicitly trust their spouse. But, this can make it easier simply to plead ignorance. “After all,” the thinking goes, “my spouse actually CAN take care of it. He/She handles all of the other business and provides financially, why should I be involved?” My response is simple: there is danger in the dark.
Please hear this: The single greatest thing you can do to love your spouse in the context of your retirement is: INCLUDE THEM.
How do I love my spouse in the context of our retirement plan?
The now famous performance coach Stephen Covey wrote that highly effective people, “Begin with the end in mind.” Careful! When it comes to retirement planning YOUR END is not retirement. You or your spouse’s ability to carry the financial torch will end with mental or physical incapacitation or death. Told you, these are the things NOBODY wants to talk about. But we must, and we will eventually.
Reasons to Include Your Spouse in Retirement Planning
If you currently are in a situation where either you or your spouse is in the dark regarding family financial planning meetings please open your mind to the following: When the day comes when your spouse is alone trying to step into the financial battlefield you will not have set them up for a fair fight. You were their plan. The strong, loving, supportive spouse you see before you will have just had the life sucked out of them. Your spouse’s life will have become infinitely more complicated.
Don’t get me wrong; plenty of life insurance, a will, investable assets are all very, very, very helpful, but they are not, I repeat, not enough. Your spouse will have no idea who or what to trust. They will have many responsibilities for children, grandchildren, friends, funerals.
And they will be dealing with their very real grief.
Take my word when I say your spouse will be entering preservation mode trying to batten down the hatches while this category 5 storm called “Grief” is making landfall. The last thing this person, whom you love most, is going to want to do is learn anything new. And yet intense learning is exactly what you’ve left for them to do. Specifically, your spouse will have to learn how to have a meaningful conversation with a CPA, learn how to settle your estate with a tax attorney, and learn how an investment advisor helps coach him or her through the ever-uncertain world of publicly traded companies.
Then, the day will come when your spouse will meet with one or (unfortunately) a number of advisors who are often telling him or her different things. Do you know what your spouse is likely to do next? They will try to guess. The fact that they love, trust, and always counted on YOU will cause him or her to try to tap into your psyche to discern, one last time, what YOU would do. I’ve come to refer to this as the “widow’s Ouija board” as the remaining spouse grapples for guidance from beyond the grave.
I have seen spouses dig their way out of the rut they were left in. It takes some special person years, tears, grief therapy, and a boat load of faith in something, and someone, bigger than themselves.
You want the good news? It doesn’t have to be this hard. You can tell them, now, what to do.
Why in the world would you not tell them and your advisor before it is too late?
What’s the solution, what’s the next step?
Married couples need a common vocabulary, built on a plan you rehearse annually with your financial planner. No doubt one spouse may be stronger than the other in planning meetings. The result might surprise you.
In my experience, perhaps contrary to south Louisiana social norms, it’s often the matriarch who, given time, has the best grasp of the family’s plan. It becomes empowering to see how the numbers flow, how much might be available for family vacations or grandchildren’s education, or the retirement home of her choosing.
I’ve seen this first hand. The older I get, the more I’m coming to believe that mothers never stop building the nest. My mother never did. She’s always been about ten steps ahead of my father when it comes to the needs of our family. Truth casts our fear. Light drives out the darkness where fear grows.
So please make this the year that you and your spouse cast off the lies of so many financial social norms and meet together with your tough, but loving, behavioral financial advisor.
Here’s to purpose driven wealth!
Grace, and Peace,
Any opinions expressed are those of the Drew Hall and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information contained in this blog does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Individual investor's results will vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Future investment performance cannot be guaranteed, investment yields will fluctuate with market conditions. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.