Whether Valentine’s Day is approaching or not, Terry Siman, a financial advisor with United Capital, is in the business of determining if couples are financially compatible, as are all of the advisors at the firm, Siman says.
But he would never tell a couple their relationship will not work, even if they do have drastically different approaches to money.
“Opposites attract. One person of a couple may want to spend money guilt free while the other may worry about future security above all else. As financial advisors, we should work out a way for both to be comfortable,” says Siman.
United Capital, based in Newport Beach, Calif., calls itself a financial life management company. Two of United Capital’s programs for prospective and current clients, Your Money Mind and Honest Conversations, are designed to help clients discover their attitudes about money.
Siman says he recently had a total of more than five hours of financial conversations with three sets of clients and never once discussed portfolio management or what to invest in. Instead he helped them work through financial situations. He uses some hypothetical situations to show what advisors can do if they are looking at a client’s overall financial picture, rather than just trying to make investment decisions for him or her.
“One person in a couple may be highly motivated to leave a legacy while the other may be want to spend their money now,” says Siman. “As financial advisors we have to figure out how they leave a meaningful legacy and maintain their standard of living at the same time.”
To do that, the advisor needs to start a conversation between the partners, and the United Capital Your Money Mind and Honest Conversations are designed to do that. Too often financial advisors want to make the decisions for clients.
“This may be the first time the clients have had these conversations” with each other and with an advisor, Siman says.
In other cases, the primary breadwinner may want to quit working, which can throw the other partner into a panic. “We can define what it means to make work optional by having the breadwinner move to consulting or work at home sometimes,” so that the new situation is acceptable to both partners, he says.
“Financial advisors are in the picture to be a guide to get clients to the right decision for them,” says Siman. “We have these conversations about what they want and then we are in a better position to help them.”