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Advice For Couples: One Household, One Financial Planner

Monday, 07 October 2013 12:41 PM

Having two financial planners serving one couple can be an equation for trouble, says Business Insider.

When people live together or get married, they make a choice to operate as a unit. Despite this commitment, some couples are opposed to jointly handling their finances. Yet, almost every couple has some joint financial goals, whether it's paying the mortgage on time or saving for retirement, and many individuals also have personal goals.

“Trying to coordinate the plans of two different planners to form a comprehensive strategy for the couple would generate a nightmare of complications,” Gil Armour of SagePoint Financial, tells Business Insider.

He suggests couples select one financial planner that both parties are comfortable with, and he believes they will be rewarded with a more effective financial ecosystem.

It's a strategy that can reduce the risk that one person will feel shocked or betrayed by the discovery of a partner's excessive debt or wealth later in the relationship. And it also helps to ensure that couples don't overlook long-term issues, such as estate planning and end-of-life care.

But what about the obligations?

A primary reason couples commonly push for separate finances is that they do not want to share every asset or every cent.

Financial professionals tend to agree that individuals should maintain some financial independence. But they also say it's not generally in a couple's best interest to draw a blunt line between their finances.

Author and TV host Suze Orman is a proponent of meeting in the middle. Writing in O Magazine, she says when a couple is considering financial matters, retreating to opposite corners doesn't help.

Orman advises every cohabiting couple to create three accounts, an individual account for each person and a joint fund. Both people can contribute his or her portion of the household obligations to the joint account each month, she says, and whatever money is left can stay in the individual accounts.

Another common concern is that people do not want to take on debts a partner acquired prior to the relationship. But Orman points out that merging old debts is not a move a couple must automatically make.

You can help each other out by chipping away at your loans without becoming officially responsible for each other's, she writes.

Couples are diverse and so are their financial concerns. Armour says some individuals want to keep assets from a previous marriage separate or some want to plan for the futures of both a new wife and children from a previous marriage. There are strategies to achieve these goals, he says.

Individuals can separate assets, create boundaries and have personal goals without using two financial planners.

“Even though the risk tolerances or investment experiences of the two parties may be different, a good planner can make sure that the needs of both parties are met in an overall plan,” Armour told Business Insider.

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Having two financial planners serving one couple can be an equation for trouble, says Business Insider.
Monday, 07 October 2013 12:41 PM
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