BeFi20: Bridging The Gap Between Financial Values And Personal Relationships
It was the desire to solve this problem that inspired the creation of Orion’s BeFi20 tool. This 20-question assessment allows advisors to better understand the financial values of individuals and couples, ultimately enabling them to offer more effective support from a behavioral perspective. In recent decades, money and relationships have topped the list of major stressors for Americans. Given that, if we are going to solve the investor problem and the behavior gap, then we need to look closely at these two factors and how they are influencing our clients’ lives. Rather than asking couples to define their financial values (given that self-awareness may vary), we surveyed hundreds of couples across North America and asked them to identify the primary sources of disagreement when they fight about money with their partner.

Through this research, we uncovered some shocking statistics. Just over a third of millennials fight about money weekly, 63% of people believe their partner overspends, and 12% of couples have never had a single conversation about money. This data (and more) led us to realize advisors needed a tool to talk to couples about money and their relationships, without overcomplicating or confusing the issue further for them. Ultimately, we arrived at five foundational pillars driving conflict in relationships: communication, worry, function, orientation and importance.

Each of these five pillars exists on a spectrum, with couples falling somewhere along the continuum. Let’s take the function pillar for example. On one end of the spectrum, we have those who believe money’s primary function is pragmatic—to be saved for retirement or used to meet practical needs. On the other side of the equation are the people who prioritize using money for immediate gratification and seizing the moment. When couples find themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum, the BeFi20 tool comes into play. It not only helps advisors gain a deeper understanding of how couples perceive the function of money but also equips them to provide tailored advice that facilitates compromise and helps the two partners to meet in the middle.

With assessments like the BeFi20, advisors are equipped with a tool that has the power to help everybody, no matter their level of understanding, when it comes to the complexities of their finances and portfolios. Though everyone might not be interested in the mathematical science used to construct their portfolio, everyone is interested in understanding themselves, their behavior and their relationships better.

By identifying the most noteworthy sources of financial distress among Americans and leveraging assessment tools and other behavioral finance tools that speak to those driving factors, advisors can rest assured they are bringing immense, tangible value into their clients’ lives. Because solving the investor problem for clients might be as simple as stripping back the paint to uncover the solution that lies beneath.

Dr. Daniel Crosby is chief behavioral officer at Orion Advisor Solutions.

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