How Wealth Advisors Serve Married Couples

February 2, 2021 - Andrew Orr

Wealth advisors serve married couples best by getting them to think and work as a team. By engaging and educating, advisors do all the right things for their clients.

As a wealth advisor, you play an important role in helping married couples achieve life goals.

Purchasing a home, starting a family, paying for children’s education, retirement planning, and having resources to share with children and grandchildren…

These are common goals married couples strive for, and they come to you for advice at different stages in their relationship.

Through good communication, education, and use of the right tools, you will help them. Consider the tips below.

5 Ways Wealth Advisors Serve Married Couples

Get Clients on the Same Financial Page

Being on the same page financially might sound like a given because of their married status, but not all couples are on the same financial wavelength.

They may not be thinking enough about how much they are spending, saving, or investing. One partner might know more about the family finances than the other, and one or both could be hiding things from their spouse.

In any case, encourage clients to be open about finances Get them thinking about short-term and long-term goals, what kind of lifestyle they want as they grow older, and how much money they need for it all.

Consult Both Partners on Financial Planning Goals

Just as you encourage the couple to think and work as a team, you must treat the couple as a team.

That means consulting both of them when it comes to creating and reviewing financial plans with them.

One partner may take on greater responsibilities of family finances, whether they are primary breadwinner or they simply a show a greater interest in the matter.

However, as a wealth manager, it is your best interest to engage both partners. Not only do you want both to have to an equal say, but it could help you retain clients.

If the “primary decision maker” you engage with most suddenly passes, will the surviving spouse retain you as wealth advisor?

While not pleasant thinking about a client’s passing, consider how it affects your relationship with the surviving partner.

John Cooper, a Private Client Advisor at Greenwood Capital, said he made a mistake earlier in his career not engaging both partners:

“When assisting couples with financial decisions, I dealt only with the decision maker (mistakenly identified as ‘the one who talked the most!’) After a wealthy ‘decision maker’ passed and I lost a large account, I realized the importance of engaging both parties in the financial planning process, even if that mean politely quieting the more verbal partner draw the other into our conversations.”

Educate the Couple

Clients come to you for different reasons.

They may be young newlyweds or older couples, ready to take finance and retirement planning seriously.

Their level of financial literacy varies as well.

Clients may not understand the math behind compound interest, but they understand they want to make money. Cater to their level of financial and educate accordingly.

As we mentioned in a previous post, avoid using complex language and industry jargon.

If you need to use complex terms, explain them in a clear and concise manner. Be prepared to answer questions several times until clients grasp concepts in terms they understand.

By educating clients, you are demonstrating authority on the subject. They are more likely to trust you as a result.

Educate In Case a Spouse Passes

As mentioned above, engage both partners in the couple.

What happens if the “decision maker” passes? Does the surviving spouse understand or feel confident in handling finances in the absence of a partner? That’s where you can help.

Be Mindful of How You Share Info with the Couple

As you preach the importance of being on the same page, it’s possible that the couple isn’t quite there yet.

When reviewing client financials, there may be things you see that one of the partners doesn’t know about.

Jeff Fishman, founder of JSF Financial, shared his take on such situation:

“When reviewing a couple’s finances, you may discover something of which one spouse was unaware. Use caution when inquiring about their budgetary details. In cases of financial infidelity, one partner may spend money on certain extravagances that do not necessarily benefit the family. There’s no telling how a client may react to the detailed financial information, and you probably don’t want this scene unfolding in your office.”

After marital infidelity, money is the second leading cause for divorce, according to a survey from Ramsey Solutions. Furthermore, money is the number one reason couples get in arguments.

That is why you should be mindful of how you discuss money.

Promote Client Experience by Leveraging Technology

Take advantage of cloud-based platforms and apps that help give the clients a better understanding of their finances and investments.

You can keep the couple more involved in the management of their wealth by equipping with them tools that make it easy to do so.

COVID-19 has only accelerated the digitalization trend in wealth management, and clients come to expect quality digital offerings. If they don’t get what they’re looking for, they’ll go somewhere else.

According to a NextGen Wealth survey, 40% of NextGen clients would leave their financial services provider if it did not offer sufficient online services.

Our TAMP1 platform helps wealth advisors in this area. The platform is web-based and has a client and advisor portal that gives clients a holistic view of their finances and investments in real time. They can see their net worth with a breakdown of their assets and liabilities.

In this way, couples can be most transparent on the topic of finance .

Serve Married Couples to the Fullest

Wealth advisors serve married couples to the fullest by promoting open and honest communication amongst the couple themselves, as well as with the advisor.

The advisor encourages both partners to have a say, communicating on equal terms. Keeping the couple engaged serves the purpose of not only making sure their interests are well represented, but in the unforeseen event of a spouse’s passing, they feel comfortable enough with their finances.

Of course, give clients the digital tools that help them their finances, investments, and net worth in real time.

Client couples, no matter their age or level of financial literacy , want someone who understands them and is committed to helping them. Be that wealth advisor they are looking for.

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