Money may not buy happiness, but it sure can create marital discord! Finances are reported to be one of the most common sources of disagreement between partners. A difference of opinion on money matters can affect everything from a couple’s household budget to their retirement investments.
Addressing financial issues early can avoid many problems. Take a look at how three couples managed their investment dilemmas — and kept peace in their relationships.
Can a Saver and a Spender Find Happiness Together?
By the time they meet, Gina and Ted have both been working for several years. But their attitudes toward money are completely opposite. Gina makes regular contributions to an employer’s retirement plan account. When she has extra cash, she usually invests most of it through a brokerage account. Ted, on the other hand, spends most of his extra money on sporting events, concerts, fine dining, and other things he enjoys. Occasionally, he puts a small amount of cash in a savings account, although Ted has no regular savings plan.
As their relationship develops, Gina and Ted realize that they need to talk about their different attitudes toward money and investing to prevent stress and friction in the future. Once their feelings are out in the open, Gina and Ted come up with a plan that satisfies both the saver and the spender. They agree to invest a realistic amount toward their goals, while setting aside some money to spend on themselves. Their arrangement meets Gina’s desire for financial security without leaving Ted feeling deprived of the things he enjoys.
To Share or Not To Share
Newlyweds Mark and Nina have decided to share an investment portfolio. But there’s one problem — and it’s a big one. Mark is an aggressive investor with a high tolerance for risk. He wants to invest primarily in risky investments, such as stocks, that offer the potential for higher returns over the long term.1
But the volatility of the stock market makes Nina uncomfortable. She prefers more conservative bond2 and cash investments that are more likely to preserve principal, even if that means earning lower returns that may not keep pace with inflation. Nina’s low tolerance for risk makes it difficult for her to go along with Mark’s investment plan.
If Mark and Nina want to share a portfolio, they will each have to make concessions. They decide to meet with their financial professional to work out a plan they can both live with. Having someone who is objective review their financial situation and make suggestions helps them reach a compromise.
Oil and Water – When Compromise Fails
Sometimes, no matter how motivated they are, couples are unable or unwilling to compromise. When that happens, spouses may need to look for a different investment approach. Sam and Esther agree on most things, but their investment strategy isn’t one of them. Esther has a much greater tolerance for risk than Sam does. She prefers to invest primarily in more volatile foreign stock investments.3 Sam is comfortable with a mix of mostly domestic “blue chip” stocks and bond investments.
After many attempts at compromise, they can’t agree on an asset mix that satisfies both of them. So, after talking with their financial professional, Esther and Sam decide to have separate investment portfolios. Esther can load up on overseas stocks, while Sam can stick with a mix of domestic stocks and bonds.