I was given the opportunity to review financial planning services, however all thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
Talking about money has never come naturally for my husband and I. Until recently, conversations about money, finances, and planning for the future didn’t happen very often at our house.
If these conversations did take place, they almost always resulted in frustration, which would then lead to an argument. So, not talking about it just seemed easier.
Not talking about it just seemed easier. I realize that’s not the best strategy; just not communicating with each other. The problem was we really didn’t know how to communicate about it. I’m a saver. He’s a spender. He’s a free-spirit. I’m more high-strung (yes, I’ll admit it).
We could never seem to get on the same page with each other.
It’s no secret that financial stress puts a huge strain on a relationship. And that’s what we were experiencing.
Enter our financial advisor.
When the opportunity to work with a financial advisor presented itself, I knew it was something we couldn’t pass up. When I asked my husband what he thought, he agreed, which was a huge relief.
My husband told me, and I quote, “We are at an age now where we can’t just live for the weekend, we have to start planning for the future.”
He couldn’t have been more right. My husband and I are approaching our mid-thirties and we were finally ready to work together as a team when it came to our finances and our future.
We wanted to have a financial plan, but we didn’t have one. We wanted to have a method for debt payback, but we had no idea where to begin. We wanted to set a budget, but we didn’t know how to stick to it. We wanted to do what we needed to do to take care of our family and start saving for our future, but we had no idea how to do that.
Our advisor made it easy. The first step was to set up a meeting to talk with him in person. He was really flexible and willing to work around our schedule, and even offered to come to us. On the night we met, he was prompt and professional. He came, introduced himself to us both and shook our hands. Then he immediately asked us about our kids and interacted with them. We spent the next few minutes talking about our families and getting to know one another. He made us feel immediately at ease.
One of the first questions he asked us was why we wanted to work with a financial adviser? He said it’s important for people to have an idea of what their goals are for their future, but they don’t have to know how to reach those goals because that’s where he comes in.
We sat at our kitchen table that evening talking, answering questions, and sharing thoughts and ideas. He really took the time to get to know us as individuals and us together as a couple.
Never did I think that working with a financial adviser would be so enjoyable. He quickly earned our trust and our respect.
That initial meeting with our advisor provided us with a clearer idea of how to shape our future financially. We broke down our debt to income ratio. We talked a lot of numbers such as what is our monthly income? How much do we pay in monthly expenses? How much ‘extra’ do we have left over at the end of each month?
Then we moved on to our specific debts and we discussed which debt we should work on paying off first and how we could go about doing that. Our advisor took all of the information he gathered and put together a monthly budget guide to help us get started with our debt payback.
Over the next few weeks we had conversations relating to life insurance policies for my husband and myself, life insurance policies for the kids, disability coverage, college savings plans, Roth IRAs and 401Ks. All of those things can seem very overwhelming, but our advisor made it seem manageable. We made an order of importance; a checklist of sorts. And we talked about the steps we would need to take to check each box.
Our advisor took the reigns, which was exactly what we needed. We appreciated how he gave us his honest opinion rather than just a vague response like, “Whatever you’d like to do, we can do.” He’d give us his views on things and he wasn’t afraid to tell us when he didn’t agree with something. He’d also listen intently to our ideas and provide us with feedback.
He made us feel so comfortable talking about all of these life choices. It helped us have constructive conversations with each other about money. He guided us, educated us, and encouraged us to take the next steps, but he was never pushy about it. Everything we chose was ultimately our decision, he was just there to help if/when we needed. After that initial meeting, he has been in contact often and is always following up with things; making sure things are going the way we had discussed.
Take it from me, it’s never too late to take control of your finances or to make plans for your future. And there is nothing wrong with getting help and guidance to do so. It can make all the difference for your relationship and your family!
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