Making a decision around financial matters is often stressful. Second guessing oneself, wondering if you did the right or wrong move can keep you up at night. Now add in a life partner and their opinion and the whole situation can really blow up. During my time in the financial industry I have bumped into all different scenarios of how couples make decisions and conduct their financial plans. What I have learned is that there is no "one way" and each situation is unique. But I want to outline the 3 different approaches that I run into. Keep in mind your approach may be a combination of any of these. What is truly important is to address your financial strategy so each partner is clear about what is going on when it comes "the plan".
1. The "What's mine is mine & what's yours is yours" approach-This is pretty common. I have many clients/life partners who keep things separate. They have no intention on including their partner in decisions with regards to money. They are the sole owner on all accounts leaving them the only one allowed to make changes and privy to their information. If this is your approach you probably would not want your partner to meet with your Financial Advisor. That being said it is important if they are your beneficiary you alert them and let them know where they would find all the important documentation in the event of your passing.
2. The "What's mine is yours & what's yours is mine" approach-Many couple decide to pool all of their resources together at some point. Each are the decision makers and each have full access to the others information. If this is your preferred financial approach I highly suggest BOTH of you being present for meetings with your Financial Advisor. It's time consuming and often leads to confusion when both are not present. This may result in a repeat meeting OR to information that gets lost in translation. Save yourselves time and energy. Make appointment that works for both of you to be present.
3. The "What's ours is ours & you/your partner prefers to not know" approach- All kidding aside, there are couples where one person takes over everything and the other person is in the dark. This can be really challenging. If one of you is less interested in money matters that is ok. They should minimally know who to contact in life changing event. In this situation, if decisions are being made by one of you, it is important that the partner making decisions keeps and inventory of everything and makes your partner aware of where that inventory can be found.
Making financial decisions as a couple can be tough. Even if you stay out of each others business or one of you is less interested, that is still a decision about how to handle financial matters. Like most everything else in relationships communication is key.
If you have any comments or questions around this subject feel free to reach out to me or anyone on our team.