Financial advisors should require both partners in a couple to attend all financial planning meetings, says Fidelity Investments.
The advice is based on a new study by Fidelity Investments that shows spouses still are not treated equally when financial advice is disbursed. The fault is not necessarily with the advisor but can be based on the attitudes of the spouses, the study shows.
Fifty-eight percent of couples that work with an advisor do not interact jointly with the advisor, the Fidelity 2013 Couples Retirement Study shows. It is still the husband who is more likely to take the lead in dealing with the advisor.
Thirty-one percent of women say their husbands are the primary contact with the advisor, while only 13 percent of men say their wives are the primary contact.
Forty-three percent of respondents say they are more comfortable talking with the advisor than with their spouse about difficult subjects such as retirement decisions, estate planning and wills. In these cases the financial advisor can serve as a bridge to help ensure both spouses are prepared, Fidelity says.
Men fear leaving their spouse unprotected if they die, but the fact that men sometimes take over the leadership in the financial relationship can turn that fear into a reality, Fidelity says.
To prevent such a situation advisors should institute a policy of requiring joint participation in the planning process, Fidelity advises.