Military Spouse Magazine

FEB 2019

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A T 2 1 257678-1218: This material is for informational purposes. Consider your own financial circumstances carefully before making a decision and consult with your tax, legal or estate planning professional. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. G O O D A D V I C E S P O N S O R E D B Y U S A A Photo by Cammy Toman Calling All Couples: Six ways to set yourself up for financial success (and harmony). By JJ Montanaro, Certified Financial Planner™ at USAA The numbers don't lie; Marriage is a challenge. According to the American Psychological Association, about half of first marriages end in divorce. That's a scary statistic for anyone who is married or focused, as we are this month, on exploring a "stronger us." If you're looking for potential causes of marital conflict, the APA's 2017 Stress in America survey points to money as a top stressor. A lot of stress is not good and remaining happily married is, so how do we get there? These six simple ideas may help the process along: MAKE GOALS A GROUP EXERCISE When I first came to USAA, I attended a company-wide meet- ing. The CEO put up a slide with a fully manned rowboat. In the middle of the boat, an individual was rowing in the wrong direc- tion. I don't remember his exact message, but the image has stuck with me for years. In marriage, your team of two must be rowing in the same direction. What direction? I don't know, but you should. Establish that direc- tion – your goals – together. TALK MONEY ON A CONSISTENT BASIS Frequent open and honest communication regarding your financials is the objective. Establish your own money chat routine. It could be a daily check-in or a monthly sum- mit. The key: Create a cadence of discussions about money that ensures you and your spouse are aligned and aware. I'll let you run with "aligned and aware," but those two words are powerful and cover a lot of ground. CREATE A WINNING ACCOUNT STRUCTURE Over my years of working with couples, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly as it applies to what I would call day-to-day "operational set-up." In other words, do you and your spouse share a joint account, do you maintain separate accounts or do you use a combination of the two? While sev- eral studies have shown that joint accounts are indicative of a healthy relationship, we use a combo at our house. Figure out what winning means for you and execute. DR AW A LINE IN THE SAND Successful marriages are typically characterized by couples who maintain their individual identity, but still work as a team. When it comes to purchases, big financial deci- sions (portfolio moves, insurance, etc.), and who is doing and managing what, I suggest you clearly delineate when individual autonomy is OK and when there's a need to work in tandem. This line in the sand may move over the years, but it should be understood. The flexibility of the line hit me at a recent presentation when an individual with a few miles on her tires scoffed when I proposed a $200 limit on any purchase without consulting your spouse. Different places in life mean different lines, but lines are still important. WALK THROUGH THE WHAT-IFS Who will take care of the kids if you aren't here? What happens if some- thing happens to me? Will your parents eventually move in with us? I could go on and on, but proac- tive conversations with agreed-upon strategies and outlooks can head off some real heartache and headache during a crisis. CELEBR ATE WINS Hey, it can't always be nose to the grind- stone, save, save, save, cut, cut, cut! Take some time to pat one another on the back and say, "You're a winner." You found each other, right? H 3 CREATE A WINNING CREATE A WINNING 3 CREATE A WINNING ACCOUNT STRUCTURE ACCOUNT STRUCTURE 3 ACCOUNT STRUCTURE Over my years of working with couples, Over my years of working with couples, 3 Over my years of working with couples, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly as I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly as 3 I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly as it applies to what I would call day-to-day it applies to what I would call day-to-day 3 it applies to what I would call day-to-day 4 4 DR AW A LINE IN THE SAND DR AW A LINE IN THE SAND 4 DR AW A LINE IN THE SAND Successful marriages are typically characterized by couples Successful marriages are typically characterized by couples 4 Successful marriages are typically characterized by couples who maintain their individual identity, but still work as who maintain their individual identity, but still work as 4 who maintain their individual identity, but still work as a team. When it comes to purchases, big financial deci- a team. When it comes to purchases, big financial deci- 4 a team. When it comes to purchases, big financial deci- 5 WALK T 5 THE WH 5 T E WH Who wil 5 Who w l kids if yo 5 k ds if yo Wh t h 5 Wh t h 6 CELEBR ATE WINS CELEBR ATE WINS 6 CELEBR ATE WINS Hey, it can't always Hey, it can't always 6 Hey, it can't always be nose to the grind- be nose to the grind- 6 be nose to the grind- 34 MILITARYSPOUSE.COM / FEBRUARY 2019

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