Talking Money With Honey

In mid-September, AdviceIQ held a week long National Financial Advisor Week event in New York’s Times Square. Maureen and I were happy to sit on one of the many panels entitled “Talking Money with Honey”. This post was written by Larry Light who is an editor at AdviceIQ describing some of our panel interactions. AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors.

One of theTimes Square / dusk most ticklish situations in a marriage is dealing with money – often because couples don’t talk about it, or if they do, not well. Advisors explored this fraught subject at National Financial Advisor Week. “Being compatible romantically does not mean being compatible financially,” said Hilary Hendershott, on a panel of advisors that dug into the issue.

The discussion took place recently as part of the National Financial Advisor Week event in New York’s Times Square. This gathering, which attracted hundreds of onlookers, featured financial advisors giving tips on personal finance, ranging from retirement saving to college funding. The panels also focused on how people can get the most out of advisors. At the event, Jennifer Rufener of Dover, Ohio, won a sweepstakes for a free college education.

The obstacle to discussing money extends far beyond marriage: People in general feel uncomfortable talking about it.

They spend more time talking about their vacations,

said panelist Dan Crimmins, co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

When it comes to how we take care of our elderly parents or manage our own retirement portfolios, punting is easier.

“People don’t tend to talk about money at cocktail parties,” said Hendershott, founder and chief executive of Hilary Hendershott Wealth Management in Silicon Valley. Her experience with her intended, a hedge fund manager and thus someone steeped in the financial world, was a seeming anomaly. “He asked me what my income was on the third date,” Hendershott said.

A wise course is for spouses to communicate about finances early on and not slack off, the panelists urged. Maureen Crimmins, co-founder with her husband of their firm, said,

They should keep the dialogue going. You should talk about it every month.

She added that these exchanges become far easier the longer couples are married.

Of course, this topic involves human emotions, and couples must take pains to listen to each other, the panelists said. How people feel sometimes is hard to anticipate. “Two things not to forecast are the stock market and people’s behavior,” said Dushyant Pandit, managing director of Dorchester Advisors in Summit, N.J.

Maureen Crimmins recalled when a couple came to her to discuss their pending retirement, and the husband surprised the wife by saying he wanted to spend their post-working years in Arizona. “The wife had never heard this before, and the husband had never been to Arizona,” she said.

One touchy question is whether married people should keep separate finances. The panelists thought that was a good idea in certain instances. Hendershott said one client couple, who intended to marry, were in far different places: She had saved $500,000 by 30, while he was an entrepreneur with inconsistent income. “The solution was to title their holdings so her money was hers,” she said.

“Good fences makes good neighbors,” Pandit said. “Putting something together is easier than taking it apart.”

“It’s OK to say, ‘These are my boundaries,’” Hendershott said. An example was where one spouse likes to carry big debt loads while the other does not. Such a couple needs to sort out that conflict ahead of time.

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About Dan Crimmins

Dan Crimmins, co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management, is a financial coach and fee only financial planner. Have a financial question? ASK DAN

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