Although couples talk about whether they’re spiritually-aligned, or how many kids they want, or if they want to live in the country or the city, they almost never consider their “financial compatibility.” They don’t discuss whether their views align on dual-income households, taxes, savings, or making a down payment on a house. And therein lies a problem.
That’s why Trilogy has been focused on helping clients merge and align their financial goals and strategies for years now. So much so that we created a Financial Compatibility Quiz to help our clients know where they stand. The way a couple answers these questions will help them identify the areas that might prove problematic today or down the line. The questions are divided into five areas: Planning, Debt, Lifestyle, Trust and Risk. It’s the launching pad for couples to start serious discussions about money.
Questions to Consider:
- What kind of financial future do we want together?
- How do we align our expectations?
- How do we feel about debt?
- Do you consider yourself a saver or a spender?
- What’s our definition of luxury?
- Do we want kids? If so, are we financially ready to have them?
And while retirement may be a long way off for some of you...time does have a way of so it’s important to consider: What does retirement look like to you as an individual and to us as a couple?
Couples usually avoid discussing these types of issues with one another for a variety of reasons. We understand it. Bills are boring. Credit scores are a snooze. It’s the most exciting Sunday afternoon activity to plan a budget, or hammer out how much you need to put into an IRA or a 401(k). Without clarity regarding financial compatibility, couples shy away from money talks for fear of initiating an unpleasant conversation. But the truth is, every couple needs to discuss these issues--seriously and honestly. They must regularly address whether they’re saving adequately, investing wisely, spending responsibly. Financial interests can change throughout our lives, so we need to make this conversation an ongoing one.
When couples who are planning on getting married come to us, we start with the quiz. But it doesn’t end there. The quiz is just to a tool to get the right conversations going. It’s critical to us that our clients start their new life together on a solid financial footing, knowing what their shared goals are, and knowledgeable about strategies to get there. The sooner newlyweds get on the same page about their long-term financial future, the more secure their decisions tend to be.
The reality is: the future creeps on you faster than you can imagine. Sure, love counts a lot--but it doesn’t pay the bills or put food on the table. Ideally, you want to find someone you love who is also compatible with you when it comes to money. You might think you can change someone in a relationship—or ‘fix’ them—but this is a dangerous proposition, particularly in the area of finance. Best now to know where you have agreement and where you need to work together to find new alignment. By opening up the right conversations, you can get this critical area off on the right foot.
Securities and advisory services offered through National Planning Corporation (NPC), Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Additional advisory services offered through Trilogy Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Trilogy Financial Services, Trilogy Capital, Inc. and NPC are separate and unrelated companies.