Helping clients develop an optimistic attitude may be the best thing financial advisors can do for their clients, according to Angela Holliday, president of Frost Investment Services, based in San Antonio.

People who have a hopeful attitude toward finances, and their lives in general, experience 145 fewer days of financial stress a year than those who view finances and life negatively, according to Frost Bank research based on a survey of more than 2,000 American adults.

“Whatever life stage your clients are in, helping them manage financial stress is all about having the right mindset,” said Holliday, who works with advisors. An optimistic attitude that focuses on the positive rather than the negative can help with managing the stress that comes with even joyful life changes, she added.

Getting married is an example of an exciting event that can also be stressful, in part because weddings can be expensive. Advisors should encourage couples to formally set aside time to discuss combining finances and assets, according to Holliday.

“This talk will require patience, empathy and a willingness to compromise. Both individuals must be completely honest, expect surprises, have no judgment and accept there will be differences,” she added, Advisors should help clients define goals as a couple, use clear ideas of where they would like their money to go, and make plans for how to save for vacations and retirement.

“Encourage clients to review their finances, because, in order to merge, they need to know where they are starting from. Each partner should know the other’s net worth and build a budget around that.

Optimism grows from knowing how to manage money. Advisors should help their young clients build a strong understanding of personal finance, including such things as creating a budget and outlining a plan to pay off student debt.

Buying a home is also an exciting, but stressful and expensive, event that requires smart saving, financial counsel and a resilient attitude. Financial advisors should keep in mind that 90% of optimists save for major purchases compared to 70% of pessimists, Holliday said. “Arming your clients with a positive attitude throughout the home-buying process can carry them closer to their goal of homeownership,” she added.

Another enormous life event that can drastically change a client’s life is having a baby, which brings with it a long list of responsibilities.

“As an advisor, urge your clients to adjust their plans to include responsibilities, such as child care, healthcare, insurance, college savings and updating wills. Proactive planning can address life developments and will help couples feel more optimistic about managing their finances,” she said.

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