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Some moments in our day-to-day work are a beautiful window into our “why” as advisors. I had one recently involving a young couple who was stuck in a rut. Every time financial decisions came up – big or seemingly small – there was tension and stress. More importantly, that stress seemed to spill into non-financial parts of their marriage.

At its core, this wasn’t an issue of any individual decision. It was a misalignment at the level of financial values.

In response, I asked them, “Hey, would you be willing to spend some time to develop some quick hits, life’s philosophies, and rules that are going to govern your finances as a couple?”

A couple of days later, I got this email containing this list of shared financial values:

  1. We will always live below our means.
  2. In times of reducing spending, we will define an item as a want or a need.
  3. We will give generously.
  4. Any spending over $100 that isn’t needed will be discussed among each other before purchasing.
  5. We have to be okay with saying no to things if they put us in financial distress.
  6. Money will never come between us.

As I read that, I flash forward to pictures of the future. I flash forward to what their kids and grandkids will experience because early on in their marriage, they established these key values.

They abandoned the tug-of-war that often happens around money, and they protected their marriage with some boundaries.

We’ve seen clients ages 26, 66, and 96, that would benefit from these types of conversations. If money is a consistent source of conflict in your marriage, consider carving out some time to document a shared list of life philosophies.

These are immensely powerful to carve out a shared vision for the future that aligns your decisions day-to-day.