Is your partner allergic to financial planning? Four easy remedies
Does convincing your partner to see a financial planner feel like pushing a rock uphill? To you, it just seems a sensible way to answer some questions. What would happen to your family’s financial security if your partner had to stop working? Would you still be okay financially?
Or perhaps you’re nearing a major windfall — an inheritance or promotion — and you don’t want to just spend it all, or blow it on a bad investment. You see the value of talking this through with a professional.
Meanwhile, your partner isn’t on-board. They keep dragging their heels.
Now, I’ve found that most partners get on-board with financial planning once I’ve had a chat with them. They can see the sense in managing the risks — and how they could be better off in the long run.
To get to that point, though, you’ve got to get your partner through the door. That’s why I’ve spoken to a few of my clients and their partners about what worked for them. Here are the tactics they shared with me:
1. Shrink the change
Most people keep their finances in the too hard basket. People stay on the default options for their superannuation, or their insurance (if they have any), because they don’t understand it.
Sure, people think, ‘I could read all the fine print’. But that feels like a hard slog. Even if your partner is a successful white-collar professional, they may feel intimidated — or would just rather spend their mental energy elsewhere. No wonder they’re dragging their heels.
To combat that reluctance, you need to make the first step feel as easy as possible. A complete financial planning service can involve insurance, savings strategies, investing advice … but don’t lay all of that in front of your partner at once. We can start with one issue, and go from there. Instead, frame the first step as simple and low-risk.
- ‘Let’s just make a 30 minute appointment to get some general ideas about insurance and see where we go from there.’
2. Open up the conversation
In your relationship, you’ve probably noticed that the way you frame questions can make a big difference. So how do you open up a conversation, rather than shutting it down before it’s even started?
If your partner is putting off financial planning, don’t use questions that have an easy ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. For example, when you say: ‘Are we going to be okay?’, your partner can just brush that aside with a simple ‘yes.’ They don’t really have to engage.
Instead, ask open-ended questions. These can often start with what, why, how or who. If your partner doesn’t have an immediate answer, you then have an opening to suggest seeing a financial planner.
- ‘How are we really doing? Are we on track to achieve a comfortable retirement?’
- ‘What would happen to our finances if you had to stop work?’
- ‘Why are we both on the same insurance plan we had five years ago?’
3. Choose your time
You may have wanted to see a financial planner for a while, but an outside event can bring your finances into focus. These can be major life changes:
- A friend is in a serious accident, and has to stop work. You see the impact this has on their family. For example, one of my clients was in serious car accident and shattered their pelvis. They were out of work for 18 months. Previously, they were on $500,000 a year. Luckily, with insurance, they were covered.
- You’re starting a family, and have decided that you’ll stop full-time work for now.
- You want a career change, which will see your income fall. The event could also be an opportunity:
- You’re considering purchasing an investment property, and want to talk through the general pros and cons of this.
- One of you is being promoted, and you want to put this extra income to good use. In these scenarios, you can use these events as a reason to start a conversation.
- ‘I’ve seen how the accident has put pressure on Fiona and Dave’s family. How would we cope if that happened to us?’
- ‘Now that our income is going up, what’s the best way to put that to good use, so we don’t just spend it?’
4. Tackle their reservations
Your partner may also have some reservations about financial planners. Tackle these reservations head-on.
If they’re worried about cost, send them this article, where I talk through what’s involved.
If the issue is one of trust, the best advice I can give is don’t take my advice! Instead, go to an independent review site, such as adviserratings.com.au. Search for an adviser in your area, and see how other people have found their service (you’ll also find me on there!).
I hope these approaches are useful — and if you want to talk through your family’s situation, just get in touch.
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