“The best protection against losing 50% of your net worth: INVEST IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP”
This past November, Huffington Post put out an article called “3 Steps to Reconnect When You Feel Disconnected From Your Partner.” In light of the upcoming Valentine’s Day festivities, it caught the eye of Ark Financial’s Chief Strategist & Partner, David Bull, and made him realize how important our work is in reducing stress in family’s lives. However, he also realized that even if we knock it out of the park with our financial planning, it’s in missing the little things in a relationship can cause the most devastating results. This includes a potential financial explosion that completely derails financial goals (let alone all life goals).
“Micro Moments of Love”
With the romance of Valentine’s day on the minds of couples everywhere, the partners of Ark Financial Group spent some time reflecting on relationships and what the article refers to as “micro moments of love.” Specifically, reflection was directed on the relationships many of our clients are in. We came to the weighty realization that a large number of our clients, prospects, friends, business relations, and more are struggling in their relationships or have had “failed” relationships.
Author of the Huffington Post article, Kyle Benson, does an outstanding job of hitting home just how important connection is during the dull moments of life. Now we’re not relationship experts at Ark Financial Group, so we’ll leave that to Benson and his contributors. What we are experts in is financial planning and some might consider this to be extremely dull.
So, what is the best Valentine’s gift you didn’t get each other?
That’s right. We bet you had no idea that financial planning is what truly inspires romance, but it is. Okay, so maybe Valentine’s day isn’t the best day to have a financial “heart-to-heart”. But, perhaps the romance of the day will encourage you both to take time for a financial date night allowing you to turn towards one another building trust and emotional intimacy along the way.
Schedule a financial date night once a month
Go ahead a have your first date night right after Valentine’s so you can indulge in the leftover chocolates and share a bottle of vino!
On the outset of a marriage there should be a financial goals assessment. During this time, it’s important to know things like:
- If one of you is carrying debt from grad school?
- Does one of you have a variable income job?
- Will income be changing for either party over the next year?
- How will you both make sure you’re living within your means?
- Are you both prioritizing financial goals – like becoming debt free, paying with cash as much as possible, etc.
- Do either of you have individual Investments & Retirement Planning?
- What healthcare benefits do you have or not have?
- And so on…
Once this initial assessment is done, you should now be on the same page about healthcare, savings, college funds (if children are involved), and so much more.
Now, start those monthly financial date nights!
Monthly financial date nights should be a time to check-in about where you are in relation to the assessment you had earlier. Take this time together to look back over the past month and honestly examine how well you are both meeting financial goals.
Discuss if there are any big expenses on the horizon that need special attention (transmission repair, vet bills, etc.). Perhaps one of you received a sudden increase in finances due to a new client or one of you needs to take time off from work to help with a sick family member. Both instances will change your financial circumstances from month to month. Check in on the logistics of it all, too – Do you both have access to all financial accounts in case something happens to one of you? And don’t forget about the romance: Maybe you want to spend more time at home or be more available for a couple’s night with friends. This could mean some readjustment of the monthly budget, too.
What’s great about monthly financial date nights?
When something comes up that’s too complex or emotional for you to handle effectively, you will know almost immediately. This quick awareness affords you the insight needed for a financial problem to be attacked offensively, rather than defensively (which is often the case) by a financial advisor. Sadly, we meet a client from time to time who came to us with an issue we cannot fix simply because they waited too long before reaching out.
We truly care about the connections our clients have with their significant others and we know financial health plays a large part in the “micro moments of love.” This Valentine’s Day, take the time to plan together and know that it’s okay to consult with a financial planner at Ark if things get a little complicated.