Ep 54: Till Debt Do Us Part: Resolving Financial Tension Between Couples (Part 1)

Ep 54: Till Debt Do Us Part: Resolving Financial Tension Between Couples (Part 1)

Money can't buy love, but it can certainly start some spicy debates  between you and your better half. In this episode, we're digging into the financial face-offs that make Monopoly fights look like child's play and exploring some money minefields that can test even the most solid relationships. Listen in as we explore how to resolve some of the most common financial sources of tension between couples.


"Strap in to decipher the maze of money disorders as we, together with our knowledgeable guest, Sherry Rash from Greenway Wealth Advisory, tackle the often thorny subject of financial planning for couples. This episode promises to enlighten you on how to navigate the tumultuous waters of differing risk tolerances, and gives you the tools to harmonize and align your financial dreams with your partner's.

As we journey through this financial expedition, we delve into the significant influence of our past, our upbringing, and our experiences on our money decisions. We guide you on how to keep emotions in check, especially when it comes to major decisions like retirement planning and property management. Join us as we get Sherry's expert perspective on the importance of open conversations about retirement expectations and the emotional attachments to assets. This episode is your ticket to effectively planning for your current and future financial reality, regardless of your partner's risk tolerance. Buckle up for a ride towards achieving financial balance in your relationship."

Full Transcript

0:00:00 - Speaker 1
Discussions in this show should not be construed as specific recommendations or investment advice. Always consult with your investment professional before making important investment decisions. Securities offered through registered representatives of Cambridge Investment Research Inc. A broker-dealer member, finra, sipc Advisory Services through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. A registered investment advisor Cambridge and Greenway Wealth Advisory are not affiliated.

0:00:20 - Speaker 2
It's time to dive into some insider secrets of investing and retirement planning. To make your retirement as smart and as elegant as possible. This is Money Chic with Sherry Rash.

0:00:31 - Speaker 3
Welcome to another edition of the podcast. It's Money Chic Women in Finance, with Sherry Rash, financial advisor at Greenway Wealth Advisory, and we're going to go into another two-part episode here on the podcast with Sherry. We're going to do a little fun, interesting word association with Till Debt do us part, which I think is kind of a fun little title there. So we're going to do 10 different items that can be sources of tension between couples when it comes to money. Different stages of life really doesn't have to be just retirement, it can be different stages of the financial world, but certainly some of this is going to be leading towards retirement Because hopefully that's the goal for all of us to get there right. So we're going to break this into two parts. We'll do five this week and five another couple of weeks here in July. And with that said, sherry, welcome in. How are you?

0:01:17 - Speaker 4
I'm good I got my, my dukes up. I'm ready to resolve some of this tension.

0:01:24 - Speaker 3
Well, you know, we're as married couples, right? We're both married. Money is the number one source of arguments, typically between a married couple, right? I think that's almost always the given across the board, no matter what age or stage you're in, right? Whether you're newlyweds or you've been married 20 years, like my wife and I are. You've been married 50 years, like her parents, right? So it's just one of those things where we don't often see eye to eye. So I wanted to go through and talk about some big bullet points, some big items that we see in the world of finance that can be potential sources of conflict as we're moving through life's journey together.

0:02:01 - Speaker 4
Okay, Yep Sounds good yeah.

0:02:03 - Speaker 3
Let's jump in and get started then. So risk, tolerance and investment. So you're a couple you're starting to say for your future, whatever that future happens to be, whatever stage of life you might be in. But it can be a most of the time. And I don't know about you, sherry, but my wife and I are incredibly different in just about every aspect. Right, and so often. I think this is going to be the overarching theme in today's conversation, but she might be maybe the spouse. One spouse is aggressive and the other spouse is not right, and that often leads to frustration. And how do we balance, how do we take risk in our investments?

0:02:41 - Speaker 4
Yeah, and really, when it comes to money in general, we bring our past or how we were raised or previous experiences and that really affects our relationship with money and our decisions with money. So if you have two different people that were raised differently and have had different life experiences, it's inevitable you're going to think about money differently, because we impose emotion and feeling to something that doesn't have emotion or feeling, which is money, but we put our feelings onto it. So it's no doubt that it's going to money in general, whether it's big decisions like, you know, retirement or purchasing a home or what have you down the little decisions of do you like to spend money on experiences or things, which is a big argument in my household, it's going to create some tension because we just think differently about it. So, when it comes to risk tolerance, I always like to talk with my clients that every dollar is an imperfect exchange and when they say they say pull the trigger, they say you don't want to do anything with them, but there's so much to do.

When I think about the improvement of consumer risk, I think doesn't need to be treated the same. So even if you are a conservative and what a conservative investor or whatever you know that means, and everyone could have a different continuum on the risk scale. But every dollar, even if you're conservative, doesn't have to be invested conservatively as long as the overall pie meets your risk tolerance or your household's risk tolerance. So if we have one partner that is a little bit more aggressive and another partner that's a little bit more conservative, if we average them together, that's that's moderate, right, that's straight down the middle. So just because I'm aggressive and my husband could hypothetically be conservative, I don't need to have my investments invested the same way as his, as long as the overall pie meets our household's risk tolerance.

0:04:31 - Speaker 1

0:04:32 - Speaker 4
That's. I think that's a big thing is that every dollar doesn't have to be treated the same. Okay as long as your pie. Each slice of the pie could have different purposes, but as long as your overall pie yeah meets what you're looking for.

0:04:44 - Speaker 3
Yeah, you know, you never played trivial pursuit, never played that game.

0:04:48 - Speaker 4
I have not.

0:04:49 - Speaker 3
Okay, so well.

0:04:50 - Speaker 4
I'm not a big board game person, that's okay.

0:04:52 - Speaker 3
But anybody who has the pie references what I was going with. The little playing piece is a, is a big circle and it's like it's a pie, right, it's cut into like six wedges or whatever. And so in order to advance through the game, you're answering questions to get pieces of the pie. And so when you were saying, that made me think about yeah, I mean, you know, just kind of think about, like you know, you know slicing up a pie or a pizza pie, everywhere you want to go, but different kinds of. You know getting those different pieces of the pie together. Filling that in is what allows you to kind of quote unquote, win the game for that trivial pursuit kind of reference. So for those folks who played it, you'll get. It makes sense. Uh, if we're not, we'll move it on.

0:05:31 - Speaker 4
I'll have to familiarize myself with trivia pursuit now, yeah.

0:05:34 - Speaker 3
Well, it was a huge game in the nineties and, uh, it's one of those things that, uh, my family used to do every now and again when, when you know other family would come into town, let's get together and hang out, and then, you know, after after a while it's like break out the board games and it's like okay, nothing, no monopoly, because everybody fights over monopoly.

0:05:49 - Speaker 4
You, know it's like in our house. There's a fight after every, during every game, so I've pretty much given up on family game night. I have to say to my girls, I will do this, but as soon as there's a little bit of bickering, the game's getting closed up and put away. I don't have the energy for this, okay.

0:06:06 - Speaker 3
Fair enough, fair enough, all right, let's let's go into number two here. Uh, retirement age. So again, whether you're, you know, 20, 40, 60, you know, starting to talk about with each other when are we going to retire and, uh, you know, are we retiring at the same time Because maybe we're not the same age? My wife and I are five years apart and she likes to joke with me. She's like I don't know, that five years might be tough, that I'm sitting around watching you or you know you're sitting around and I'm having to go to work. She's like that might tick me right off. So you never know, right, yeah.

0:06:36 - Speaker 4
I mean, or or conversely, if you both retire at the same age and you're both sitting around, you may really start to get on her nerves. She wants to go back to work, yeah.

0:06:46 - Speaker 3
She's like get a good friend of mine to happen with as well. They retired early because of his military uh pension and he's like he's used to being at home. And then she's decided to retire early and he's like get out of my house, you're messing up my daily routine.

0:07:03 - Speaker 4
There's a lot to think about. It sounds, it sounds, nice to retire at the same time but, um it, it might not work out so well, just personality wise. But yeah, I mean, if there is a big gap as far as ages go there, there are things to consider. For example, if you know one spouse wants to retire at 65, but, um, the other spouse is, you know, six years younger, that's 59 or 58. And there are rules when you have to, when you withdraw from your retirement accounts, if you're younger than 59 and a half, you could end up paying a penalty. So you need to keep age in mind and, depending on where, what assets you're going to live off of in retirement, that's important to consider when you are thinking about retirement. So there's definitely a lot to think about as far as personalities go, what you're going to do. Or you know, does it make sense for you both to retire at the same time and kind of ease into both of you being retired? Absolutely.

0:08:03 - Speaker 3
And then the strategy of of how you're claiming so security can play into that, because you know, obviously, if there is an age difference, or even if there isn't, you still may want to consider, you know, okay, who's maybe making more money, so do we let that person's do you work longer and it continues to grow Because it's an 8%, you know, return, and so the other person takes it early. So just lots of little things to strategize on, right. So you don't want to just, yeah, it's you got to balance all those different pieces so you can keep the arguments at bay. All right, and that's the.

You know, that's the theme we're going to hear with on the, you know this week's podcast. So we're going to do again five of the top sources of tension, looming sources of tension between couples, and let's go to legacy for the kitties. So now again, same thing, Sherry. So many times I talk with advisors all across the country and often the spouses are not on the same page and maybe they haven't even had this conversation with each other before they sit down to talk with someone like yourself and it's like, oh, I want to leave as much as we can to the kids, and the other one looks at them and goes uh no, we're spending this because we're yarning, we're having fun, right?

0:09:08 - Speaker 4
So you know, disparity there.

Yeah, I mean, cause there's also thinking about well, we paid for their college education, we gave them a down payment for their home. We've, we've done a lot for them. You know we've done, I'm done, I'm done, so, yeah. So some may think I'd rather have my children enjoy or I can see them enjoying the fruits of my labor now, versus leaving it to them and when we pass we cannot see them enjoy it or what have you. So that's important to think about and, yeah, oftentimes you don't talk about it or even maybe even think about it till someone asks you what, what's your plan?

Yeah, one question I do ask my clients is is your intention to bounce the check to the funeral home? I mean, are we spending every dollar? And we laugh because it's a funny way to ask the question, but it it brings up the conversation and sometimes, if one spouse really wants to leave money to their children and the other one doesn't have as much of a desire, life insurance could be a solution for that, just having a small policy and paying the premiums, and then that enables you to continue to spend every dollar because you know when they, when you pass your children, will get a little death benefit for that.

So, that's something to think about, so, and it also could be where do you want to just skip the kids in general and leave your money?

0:10:35 - Speaker 3
to the grandkids. I was just thinking that I was like, okay, the one thing about and I've definitely seen this too it's like wait, we can't agree what to leave the kids, and then they both go. Ah, just leave it to the grandkids.

0:10:44 - Speaker 4
Right, they're the favorites anyway.

0:10:46 - Speaker 3
So let's just be honest.

0:10:48 - Speaker 4
Yeah, so it's. It's important to think about and there are ways around it to kind of satisfy everyone. I think that would certainly be a compromise, but there are ways depending on what you're most passionate about, about leaving your legacy.

0:11:02 - Speaker 3
Yeah, and that's the key right there, right? So you know, you got to compromise and and I think that while these things we're talking about, you know, this week on the podcast, we probably all realize that these are things we need to do, but life just gets busy and we just often, again, I've been doing this for years and years now and it's surprising the number of people who have been together, you know, married 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, whatever and they sit down for the first time working with a financial professional and they truly haven't even discussed this with each other, right, and it's not because they weren't, you know, they were purposely avoiding it. Maybe they were, but in some cases, but often times, it's just like life is busy, life happens, right, right, the next thing, you know, you go.

Oh yeah, we probably should have thought about this, you know so, and another one, number four on our this week's conversation, is the house right. So again, a lot of times and you could, you, I guess you could go with the stereotypes here, sherry that women sometimes tend to be more emotional in in a traditional, you know, set up that way, and maybe the guys are a bit more aggressive, or whatever the case is. And so even with the house, it can be. Well, this is where we raise the kids. I want to keep the memories, I want the grandkids to have those things.

We've got a big hat, we've got six acres here in a pool and all that kind of stuff, and so I'm actually that way and the wife is like, yeah, we can stay or we could go. You know, whatever we need to do, if we need to downsize or something like that, we could certainly do that. But that becomes the source of, you know, tension if you guys cannot get onto the same page. Now, luckily she's fine either way, but it could be definitely different if I was like no, worth definitely staying, and she's like, no, I want something smaller, you know. So you got to bear that in mind as well and that creates a big financial impact.

0:12:39 - Speaker 4
What direction you go right if you're using your home as an example, that's a lot to maintain, which could be very expensive, and you know going forward, and then, as you age, you may not be able to take care of it all yourself, so then you have to outsource that's her argument right there.

0:12:54 - Speaker 3
She's like we're gonna have to pay somebody to take care of this place because you can't do it. And I'm like, well, yes, I can. You know, pride kicks in, or whatever. She's like you can do it now, but are you gonna do it at 70? And I'm like, okay, fair point.

0:13:06 - Speaker 4
I will say it's a lot easier to have these kinds of conversations if you have a neutral third party in the room with you that can bring up both sides and doesn't have, you know, a dog in this fight, if you will, so yeah, or I. Can we say that?

0:13:19 - Speaker 3
okay, okay, I think that's fine, that's a saying right, I mean saying we're both animal lovers, I think we're comfortable in that you probably have flash near you and I've got my two behind me, so I think we're good speaking of which today is flash's birthday.

0:13:33 - Speaker 4
He's one year old. Yeah, happy birthday, flash. He says thank you, yeah, it's very exciting in our house today. Um, yeah, so I mean it is. I think it is good to have. I mean, that's value of a advisor right there is to be able to ask these questions right and be in a neutral, you know, safe space if you will to hash everything out and, um, you probably wouldn't be as keen to starting an argument in front of you know someone else so it could be a way to just bring up yeah, that it always can be interesting, right so?

0:14:10 - Speaker 3
you wear multiple hats. I mean seriously, like right. I mean a lot of times advisors have that kind of a marriage counselor hat sometimes that you have to put on, or even if a first a single person, sometimes there's still that kind of counseling hat because it's like, hey, I'm thinking about this or that financially and part of your job is be well, a big part of, I think, what advisors do share is behavioral. Behavioral say that three times.

0:14:34 - Speaker 4
Uh, management right yeah, absolutely 100%, and I actually that's probably one of the things I enjoy most is talking about some of these more emotional topics, because that's where we can really make a difference and potentially improve um your life or your conversations at home. I had one couple say to me not that we argued about money a lot prior to meeting you, but after meeting you we don't argue at all because as soon as.

Yeah, it was. It was one of the best compliments I've ever received, because they say, as soon as something comes up and we start to, you know our feathers go up a little bit. We just say let's put this on the list to speak with Shari about later.

And that's it, that's right, and that's to me that's so much more valuable than here's the performance of your account. So, yeah, definitely hashing these out with with a neutral third party that can bring up the pros and cons and the financial impact of some of these decisions may help to remove the emotions, and especially when you've seen it from a hundred other couples as well, right.

0:15:40 - Speaker 3
So it's, like you know, while this particular couple's going through it and, yes, it becomes unique to every individual situation you do have that experience of saying, well, you know, I've I've just experienced this with another couple, you know, two months ago, and I'll just, without sharing the details, let me just kind of share the generalities, right, of what they struggled through or whatever. So, yeah, I mean, just having that extra set of ears and eyes can be certainly really helpful. So let's finish off with our last one, because I think these first five are definitely the heavy hitters, and then we'll have five more in a couple of weeks. We'll go through some other places that can pop up as well, but just the overall lifestyle.

So, whether it's the current lifestyle or even retirement lifestyle, what do you want that to look like? Or maintain? Or I mean, all of us are hoping to improve, right, as we're going through the journey of life, especially as a couple, we're trying to, you know, acquire, you know, whatever it is that we're after, right, that makes us happy, whether it's things or experiences, or, you know, renovating your homestead, whatever it might be right. So what do you want that to look like through life's journey and also into retirement. And again, sometimes a lot of the conversations for the first time, right in front of a professional like yourself, you know. One person might say we'll go with the old cliche adage of I can't wait to be retired because I'm going to golf all the time. And the other partner looks and goes no, you're not. Golf is boring, you know, or whatever right.

0:17:06 - Speaker 4
Yeah, and I mean the retirement lifestyle is probably similar, going to be similar to the lifestyle you have pre retirement right. A homebody isn't all of a sudden going to turn into a world traveler Probably so. So it's just I think that this can, as you go through the stages and phases of life, it can then help prepare you for what you think or would like retirement to look like. So you know, and obviously there's probably going to be compromise if one spouse wants to travel and the other one really doesn't. There's going to have to be some compromise there.

0:17:39 - Speaker 3
That's a great analogy, because that's what my wife does for a career, right, sherry? So she's always traveling. She's been all over the world and I've been like two places, you know. And so I'm like, okay, well, let's go see a bunch of places whenever we retire. And she's like, okay, but or we could stay home and work on the garden.

0:17:56 - Speaker 1
Wait a minute now.

0:17:57 - Speaker 3
So yeah, we have to find that happy medium.

0:18:00 - Speaker 4
Right and I mean, and one happy medium could be we can go places, but maybe we go get an Airbnb for a month instead of living out of suitcases in a hotel room. So that way maybe the homebody feels a little bit more comfortable because they have a kitchen and all this stuff and they can spread out versus just living in a hotel room.

0:18:18 - Speaker 3
for a week. That's a good idea.

0:18:19 - Speaker 4
See look at that Neutral third party Solve the problems.

0:18:23 - Speaker 3
There you go, right, yeah. And again, it doesn't matter really what it is in the retirement lifestyle, whether it is the hobbies or the travel, or you know how often it's either grandkids or whatever, right, I mean, there's just a ton of little things where we can maybe be on different pages, but they all cost money, and so you still have to factor that in because that's going to roll into you. And this is where, if you're not communicating not only with your partner but with your financial professional, you're really doing yourself a disservice.

0:18:50 - Speaker 4
Right, and you have to think about how one thing impacts another, and it really is a domino effect. Like you mentioned before, with Social Security and the age you take, it could impact the spouses. It's a domino effect because the person that wants to stay in their home that may require a lot of maintenance also wants to be the world traveler. Those two things kind of don't go together, because you need to maintain your home, but if you're gone for two months, then you know. So there's a lot to think about and a lot to put together, but you don't have to have it all solved in order to retire, though. Too. I feel like a lot of times, people may be so overwhelmed by all of the decisions that they just keep pushing retirement off.

You don't have to have all the answers, but you have to have at least a roadmap and some type of strategy to flip that switch and say, okay, I am going to retire and this is the date I'm going to do it.

0:19:43 - Speaker 3
Yep there you go, and that's why it's important really to consider working with a financial professional if you're not already, because you know again, it doesn't really even matter what stage of life you're in. The sooner you can get started on some of these things, just the less stress, the less roadblocks, tensions, whatever the case might be down the path is going to be. I love that story that you shared on the podcast this week, sherry, about the couple saying you know, we don't fight as much now because we have a financial professional in our life, because we can table those arguments when we see them getting a little too heated and bring in that mediator right, for lack of a better term. So therefore, that's a great thing to do. So reach out, have a conversation with a qualified professional like Sherry.

We'll wrap it up this week. We'll be back with five more places, more topics to talk about for financial sources of tension between couples on the next episode. So don't forget to subscribe to us on Apple or Google or Spotify, whatever podcasting platform you like using. Just type in money, chic, women and finance you'll find it really easily that way into the search box of any of those apps, or just stop by Sherry's website and you can find lots of tools, tips and resources at Greenway Wealth advisorycom, including the podcast Greenway Wealth advisorycom. Sherry, thanks for hanging out and breaking this down with me.

0:20:57 - Speaker 4
My pleasure, see you next time.

0:20:59 - Speaker 3
Yeah, see you next time. And happy birthday to flash. Give him a scratch for me I will. We'll catch you a little bit later here on the podcast. This has been Money Chic Women in Finance with Sherry Rash.

Shari helped my husband and I consolidate our finances and create a system that works for us. She is a great listener and very authentic - we are thrilled to have this trusted advisor on our team.

Jessica, Charleston
Subscribe to newsletter
Subscribe to receive the latest blog posts to your inbox every week.