Frank Legan Advisors at Cedar Brook Group

Love and Money: Financial Planning Considerations for Couples

Love and Money: Financial Planning Considerations for Couples

 By Frank Legan

Have you experienced conflicts with your partner over finances? Or perhaps a more relevant question: How frequently do these disagreements happen? Nearly 70% of married or cohabiting couples acknowledge having disputes about money, with financial disagreements ranking among the top causes of divorce. Even if you fall into the minority and arguments are infrequent, it’s likely that your relationship has felt the strain financial conflicts can bring. A recent study revealed that money was the primary source of stress for Americans, a tension that often intensifies when different perspectives on money management come into play.

Why does achieving harmony between money and love seem so challenging?

Emotions, Opinions, and Personality, Oh My!

It’s no secret that finances tend to stir up plenty of emotions and cause stress in everyday life, so couples may try to keep the peace by keeping mum about money. In addition, everyone has their own opinion on how to manage money, and most of us also have a unique financial personality. Some of us are savers, some are spenders. Some of us may be conservative, while others are free spirits. These differences can cause friction and discord, which then affects all other aspects of the relationship.

But no matter what the statistics tell us, money doesn’t have to be a stress point in a relationship. Here are a few simple strategies that may help couples avoid financial friction.

Be Honest

Unfortunately, honesty regarding money isn’t a guarantee in a relationship. According to a CreditCards.com poll, 32% of people in a serious relationship commit financial infidelity, either by hiding debt, credit cards, or bank accounts or spending more than their partner would be okay with. It’s important for both partners to offer full disclosure of their finances and be open about expenses, regardless of whether you’re married or you live together, have joint accounts or separate bank accounts. You and your spouse should be aware of how you prepare your finances and spend your money, especially when it comes to significant expenses, loans, or ongoing fees. By maintaining an open line of communication regarding spending habits and upcoming bills, you may be able to avoid financial arguments.

Time it Right

Since conversations about money are often emotionally charged, choose a time to talk about your financial situation or make decisions when both of you are at your best. Don’t wait until the end of a long, stressful day or right before you have to walk out the door. It’s also important to be preemptive, having discussions to set boundaries and expectations to avoid future problems. In other words, don’t wait until one of you splurges on a new TV or you go over budget on a vacation to set limits on spending.

Cater to Your Strengths, But Work As a Team 

Most often, one spouse acts as the Chief Financial Officer of the household, managing all bills, budgets, savings, investments, and insurance policies. However, it can be helpful for both partners to understand their financial situation. If time allows, sit down together once a month for a financial check-in to review credit card statements, account transactions, and other bills and check for any possible errors. Ongoing input from both partners will strengthen your relationship and create a true partnership.

Find What Works for You

You don’t have to go far to find financial advice, but not every system or philosophy will work for your relationship. Glean ideas from experts, family members, or friends, but be flexible, allowing yourself to experiment and find a financial framework in which you both can thrive. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods of budgeting, saving, or debt payoff, and remember that as life changes, you may need to adapt your finances to your new circumstances. 

Reward Yourself

Set aside a portion of pocket money that you and your spouse can each spend every month on something you love, whether it’s a massage, a round of golf, or a steak dinner. Along with saving for long-term goals, set small objectives you can reasonably accomplish each month and celebrate your success.

Bring in a Third Party

Sometimes the best way to ease money tensions is to work with an objective third party, whether that’s a financial professional, a marriage counselor, or both. A financial professional can work with you and your spouse to review your financial landscape, identify any gaps in your insurance coverage, assist you in establishing short-term and long-term goals, help you stay on track, and provide professional and knowledgeable advice.

Although the topic of finance can occasionally cause tension, money doesn’t have to become a constant source of concern in a relationship. Invest the time to address spending habits and savings goals, uphold transparency regarding purchases, and communicate effectively.

A Partner to Support Your Success

At Cedar Brook Group, we prioritize your relationship and make it our goal to alleviate some of your financial stress. If you believe your relationship and finances could benefit from the objectivity and experience of a financial professional, we’re here to assist you. Reach out to us at 440-683-9213 or flegan@cedarbrookfinancial.com or schedule a complimentary introductory call online!

About Frank

Frank Legan is Partner, Financial Advisor, and member of the Forward Look Committee at Cedar Brook Group, one of the largest independent wealth management firms in Northeast Ohio. Frank spends his days designing and implementing personalized financial planning strategies for corporate executives, closely held business owners, artists, families, and retirees. He focuses on lifetime income strategies, investment advice, and estate planning services. He also works with businesses to develop strategic and succession planning strategies. Frank has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Dayton, as well as a Master of Public Administration focused on municipal management from Cleveland State University. Prior to joining Cedar Brook Group, Frank was a financial advisor in the private client group at Merrill Lynch and with NatCity/PNC Investments. Frank is active in his community, serving on various councils, boards, and committees. Frank serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland. When he’s not working, you can find Frank spending time with his wife, Laura, their daughter, Reese, and their beloved collie, Charlie. Frank and his family are volunteers at St. Francis of Assisi church in Gates Mills. To learn more about Frank, connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About Frank Legan

frank-legan-bio

Frank Legan is a Cleveland-based author, a partner and financial advisor at The Cedar Brook Group, one of the largest independent wealth management firms in Northeast Ohio. Frank spends his days designing and implementing personalized financial planning strategies for corporate executives, business owners, artists, families and retirees. He focuses on lifetime income planning strategies, investment advice, and estate planning services. He also works with businesses to develop strategic and succession planning strategies.

Frank holds a B.A. from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree from Cleveland State University.

Frank has been active in his community as he served as a Council Representative at Large for the City of Highland Heights, as well as Vice President and Secretary for the Hillcrest Council of Councils. He currently serves as a Board Member and Emeritus Chairman for Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland.

Frank lives in Gates Mills with his wife Laura, daughter Reese and their collie Charlie.

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