When your life partner resists financial planning – Daily News

on Apr4
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One of the most difficult hurdles to overcome in financial planning can be reaching a shared agreement about goals and actually doing what it takes to reach these goals. When your life partner resists money conversations, tension and resentment can build.

One of you, for instance, might be trying to save funds for retirement, and the other spends without thinking, appearing to count on winning the lottery as chief funding for the golden age ahead. Emotional moments arising from such scenarios can create great resistance in planning. Both partners suffer a perceived loss and a disrespect to their own needs on the part of the other.

Many couples try to tiptoe around the conversations that need to be held, and life together tends to become fractious, swinging back and forth between silence in denial and eruptive confrontation.

How can you break through such resistance? How can you both get on the same track so that you can enjoy each other and an appreciation for the life you are creating together?

Here are five steps to help you move through those conversations more easily, so that you can both align in your actions to reach your goals.

Agree on your “why.” Avoid starting with the “how” — the figures and savings tactics. Instead, begin with creating a picture of your ideal future – the desired end result you want to achieve. Many will begin by calculating how much they want to have at retirement, or what they want to leave for their children.

Resist this, and instead, paint a vision of what you want this money or these assets to do. For example, what kind of life do you want to lead when you retire? What do you want to be doing and enjoying every day? Get excited together about possibilities.

Identify goals that support the “why.” This is where you decide how much will be required to support the vision of the future you have created together. What are those money goals? Working with a professional to make sure you are calculating well will be important.

Identify strategies to help achieve goals. This is generally where most conversations break down. Deciding what money habits will need to shift in order to reach your goals can be painful. At this point, it is important to keep referring to the “why” you have created together to remind each other of the exciting end result. It is also key to recognize that depending on who will have to shift behavior, that person is struggling with a loss. Whenever we decide to make a change, this involves letting go of something old in order to take on the “new.” So, in order to take on a new way of managing money, there will also be a pivotal moment of saying goodbye to familiar and comfortable spending patterns, no matter how detrimental these have been to financial health. Talking about these in non-judgmental terms will be important.

Create mini-goals for incremental wins. Looking at the large figures it will require to achieve your “why” can be daunting. It can also be discouraging when trying to shift unhealthy financial behaviors. Be sure and identify short- and medium-term goals and achievements along the way so that you can celebrate together and encourage each other. This is an important step to reinforce new behaviors and stay on track toward ultimate success.

Give each other grace. There will come a time when one of you gets off track. Make it easy to get back to move forward. Avoid harsh criticism and judgment, acknowledging that working toward great goals also means learning – and sometimes, falling down to get back up. At times like these, revisit your shared “why” to remind yourself and your partner what you are working toward together.

Talk it out. How will you handle conflict?  How will you celebrate? Taking the time to have such meaningful discussions can set the tone for your next chapters together, bringing you even more closely together. And that’s a lovely way to spend life.

Patti Cotton works with executives, business owners, and their companies, to elevate and support leadership at all levels. Reach her via email at Patti@PattiCotton.com.

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