Weddings, Marriages, Habits & Money

By: David Smyth, June 14, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to the first wedding I've been to in quite a while. When you're just out of college, you go through the first wave of friends getting married, then another round a few years later, finally the 30-plus folks who waited even longer take their turn. Now that I'm in my 40s, it's been some time since the last close friend walked down the aisle. 
 
And now, some of those close friends are on round two, tying the knot for the second time, and I've come away from some of these round two weddings thinking that round one apparently taught these folks some good lessons. The vows I heard at this wedding were much more poignant, instead of...wishful. 
 
For example, I found the vow of, "I will always think the best of you" much easier to comprehend than "for better or worse." That leaves things way too open for interpretation! Also replaced, or perhaps streamlined, was the "in sickness and in health, till death do us part" line, which became simply, "I've got your back." 
 
As if witnessing these heart-felt vows wasn't enough to be a tear-jerker, what was really neat was seeing the newlyweds with their blended family of four daughters throughout the evening of dinner, dancing and merriment. The girls played and danced together as they enjoyed the moment. 
 
Since this was the first wedding I'd attended in a while, it was also a good reminder that, despite today's media and fake news, there is a time and a place for marriage, and that a married couple can be a wonderful example to the community of the fairy-tale, happily-ever-after, Disney movie moments. And as the minister also said to the newlyweds, now the real work begins! 
 
All of us who are or have been married know that marriage can be tough, and just like financial planning or investment planning, it's something that takes a lot of diligence. In our experience working with newlyweds and long-term couples alike, we see two scenarios that often derail the best-laid financial plans.
 
First, we'll meet with folks looking for a savings plan and help with budgeting and planning for their dream retirement. That initial meeting often goes well, and everyone is agreeable to plan of action laid out. Where the rubber hits the road is both easy and hard - all you have to do is save the agreed upon amount and you'll be fine. And then you have to actually do it. But, life happens, the budget gets busted and the plan falls by the wayside. 
 
Or, we'll see a couple coming in for a retirement plan who has saved up some assets to work with, and because they've delayed gratification, they can go ahead and retire. But, the problem these folks run into is they want to take out significantly more than the general consensus says is smart, putting them at risk of running out of money before their time is up. 
 
In these situations, both couples are trying to do the right thing, but they fall into bad habits, whether that's spending before saving, or spending money in the present that they'll need in the future. Throughout life, the habits you develop affect every decision you make, for good or bad, and whether you're a young newlywed, in a round two marriage, or you answer the question of how long you've been married with, "this time, or total?" 
 
My thought for you today would be to challenge you to think about the habits you're proud of, and the ones you might not be so proud of. Are any of those habits financial? The good news is that whether your financial habits make you proud or a little embarrassed, our team at Family Financial Partners believes we can help you improve upon your current situation, whatever that might be. 
 
Once you've thought about which habits you need some help addressing when it comes to your hard-earned assets, give us a call, or make sure to say hi at the lake, on the golf course, at a pool party, or at our upcoming Thursday Night Live gathering downtown. Oh and as always, if you have friends you think we should meet (who might need a little help with their habits), bring them along. We'll see you soon!

Family Financial Partners | Growing Wealth, For Generations ™