Navigating the power struggles over money in relationships.
Seven years ago, I started my firm to address a specific need: helping millennials. I had the idea by just looking around me. Following the Great Recession, there were smart, hard-working young professionals saddled in student loan debt struggling to start their adult lives in a beaten down economy. I believed I could make an impact, but also from a business standpoint, build long-lasting relationships by investing in my peers early. And I was right.
The need still exists today for my demographic, even as the voices in the financial literacy space are louder and more plentiful. There’s still much work to be done in bringing basic financial skills to the masses at an earlier age and equipping young people with the right questions to ask about the value they seek to gain from higher education. I will continue being a passionate advocate on these topics, but the truth is, my clients are growing up. I’m growing up, too.
The clients in my practice are off to the races. Their titles are changing. Their businesses are growing. The swings they take are making contact. And their personal lives are evolving, too. I’ve watched many clients fall in love and start building new lives together with a partner.
People joke that half of my personality is me talking about my wife, but I’m not ashamed of that. I’ve been with Heather half of my adult life. We’ve grown up together and lived the lifespan of some marriages before we even got married. It wasn’t always easy, but that’s because we put in the work.
As for my clients who fall in love and prepare to marry their lives to someone else, it isn’t always been easy to bring them to the table to talk about their finances. But when we do, magic happens.
At an event earlier this summer, I heard Mike Ryan, the Vice Chairman of UBS Wealth Management, talk about how his firm struggles to work with surviving female spouses of deceased clients due to decades of non-involvement in their family’s finances. I’d call it fascinating, but a better word is disappointing. How can some couples never have these discussions at all?
The question is rhetorical, but after years of servicing individuals and couples, I have a sense as to why some avoid it altogether. It’s a huge challenge. Combining your finances and then operating as a team with someone else – dare I say, forever – is a major commitment. And while there’s plenty of topical content out there on things like “setting up joint bank accounts” and “budgeting as a family,” there’s very little that explores the emotional complexities of merging two people’s financial lives together.
I’m excited to share that Heather and I are writing a book about navigating the power struggles over money in relationships. Titled The Merge, for now, our book aims to become the resource for marrying your money beliefs with the person you’re married to.
Turning my professional attention to marriage and money is the natural evolution of what I’ve been building. Like before, I got the idea by paying attention to the people around me. We are no longer young adults thrusted into a post-recession world. We have evolved and so have our financial challenges. I’m excited to have an impact by helping people build strong financial relationships together, and even more excited to do this with my wife.
And this is where I ask for help. Do you have a story to share about how you and your partner overcame (or are navigating) a money conflict in your relationship? Are you an expert in the field of relationships, psychology, economics, law, or money (I can’t be the only one)? Do you have a hot topic you think we should cover? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heather and I will also be writing more about love and money together in a new newsletter called The Joint Account. We’re hoping to merge (get it) our audiences in more ways than one, and even conduct passive research for the book through the process. So if you see an email from The Joint Account come through, do not be alarmed. We will not spam you like Dick’s Sporting Goods does because you had to buy your kid softball cleats there that one time. We will, however, help you talk money better with your partner.
I’ll still be here, too, from time to time. So don’t shed any tears for this newsletter.
Thank you all in advance for your support. I really can’t wait for what’s next.
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