The Power of Two
I work with clients of all shapes and sizes, but I think my most gratifying work comes from working with couples. I am currently working with couples in various stages of their relationships, dating, newly engaged, almost married, newlyweds and long time marrieds/coupled; and it’s amazing for me to watch the team dynamic shift over the course of becoming financially fit.
Typically when I start working with a couple, one half (I like to think the better half) decides that they need a little extra help with their finances. Even if it seems as though they don’t need help, something motivates that person to seek me out. At first, I usually only talk to this half of the couple as he or she questions me about how I can help them and the person they are with live a better life.
This person usually goes back and tells the other that they have to work with me and because the other person wants to keep their loved one happy, they concede and sit through a meeting with me. I don’t always win over the hesitant partner right away, but I love when I see that person start to realize that maybe asking for help isn’t a bad thing and that financial fitness could actually make sense.
Common Goals is Step One
Through lots of questions and dialogue, I love watching my clients work together to start to visualize and formulate common goals and directions. It is really like watching the beginning of a movie you know you’re going to love, and I truly feel blessed to have a front row seat for the show.
After the first two meetings where goals are defined and plans are made, my couples are set off on their own to see if they can pull it together themselves and get going on the path to financial fitness. When we regroup in three months, about half achieve their goals and the other half usually fail miserably. The ones who are on goal, sit in front of me with this feeling of victory and pride in their ability to work together, and I am proud of them in return. The ones who fail, sit in front of me dejected and forlorn that they couldn’t figure it out. I never stress about the failures, though, because the beautiful thing about financial fitness is that despite setbacks, it’s always achievable.
Setbacks will Happen
I recently met with one of my first time fail couples for their second quarter meeting, and it had to be one of my all-time favorite meetings. Three months prior, this couple found out from me that they failed miserably and rather than sit there and mope, they put together the plan for how they would get back on track. They set some pretty strict goals that even they didn’t know they could achieve, but I knew that if they worked together, the power of two would lead them to success.
Sure enough, when we recently met, their plans not only worked, but they had more than made up for that bad quarter. I told them that I couldn’t be more proud, but nothing was better for me than seeing the pride they felt over what they accomplished. Everybody’s path to financial fitness is different; some people need success right away while others need to fail to learn how to proceed successfully. No matter what the path, though, it’s always easier when you have someone with you who is of the same mindset. It’s why the initial goal setting and continuous goal setting is so important to me as a financial planner. When my clients have shared and common goals, they work together to achieve them; and the more passionate they are about the goals, the more they accomplish.
Working Together Makes a Difference
On Friday’s podcast, I am talking with Elle Martinez from Couple Money about some best practices couples can apply to their relationship to ease money stresses. Money and financial choices play a big part in a couple’s failure but it doesn’t have to be that way. I see couples with all different backgrounds and money philosophies come together to achieve amazing things. It’s important to let money unify you and your partner rather than create challenges.
I am thrilled for the success of my couples and to the ones getting started; I’m excited that they both decided to take the journey to financial fitness together. Relationships are hard enough, but when you’re financially fit, it not only gives your balance sheet a break, but your home life a break as well.