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All You Need is Love, and a Financial Advisor

February 2018 
by Michael Lynch

Finances are one of the major stumbling blocks to a happy, healthy relationship, so it’s key that your coupled clients have a clear understanding of each other’s saving and spending habits, as well as any debt issues.

Each year as February rolls around, the candy hearts and red roses reemerge, bringing Valentine’s Day to the forefront of everyone’s minds. Your clients may be at home helping their kids cut out cards for their classmates, planning a romantic date, or arranging a get-together with some friends, but while romance is on everyone’s mind, it’s also a convenient time for advisors to talk about finances with couples. It may seem counterintuitive to discuss finances during a holiday about love (they’re always saying keep emotions out of investing); however, there are many stages of relationships where couples could use financial advice.

For couples who aren’t married, are engaged, or are even newlyweds, it is especially important to push them to discuss their fiscal affairs. Finances are one of the major stumbling blocks to a happy, healthy relationship, so it’s key that your coupled clients have a clear understanding of each other’s saving and spending habits, as well as any debt issues.

Just as important, however, is aligning their objectives and goals by determining what their collective financial priorities are. Is the couple more focused on saving for a house, for a 529 plan, or strictly for retirement? Does it make sense for them to combine assets? Are there any issues, like debt or previous marriages, which would make it more logical for them to keep their finance separate? Both partners must go into the discussion willing to be honest about income and expenses, but facilitating that conversation early on, and helping them develop a game plan, can help a couple avoid years of resentment regarding their finances.

While longer-married couples have hopefully been having conversations about their finances as long as they’ve been together, it can be important to have a check-in as they move through different phases of life. For example, older clients who are taking care of parents, kids, and even grandkids are thinking about their time and finances differently than a younger couple. As an advisor, you should think about what’s important to these clients. Find out if their goals for saving are the same as they originally were. Does each partner in the relationship still have the same intentions regarding not just their finances, but also how they plan to spend the later years of their lives? If not, you can help address the issue and offer solutions.

One last idea for your Valentine’s Day client conversations: suggest a family love letter. Have your clients share with their family not just information around account details, contact information, and password reminders in case of emergency, but also include family photos, as well as intentions for any assets that will be passed on. Money can be a difficult concept, and talking about actions and intentions is easier than account value. As an advisor, your role is so much more than just managing finances and investments. Guiding your clients to ask themselves the difficult questions and have the uncomfortable conversations is one of the most helpful things you can do, and it’ll be helpful to use any opportunity—including Valentine’s Day—as a starting point for those discussions.

Michael Lynch
Vice President, Strategic Markets

Michael Lynch is Vice President of Strategic Markets for Hartford Funds. In his current role, Mike is responsible for engaging and educating both financial advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial-services marketplace. These opportunities range from tactical strategies in areas such as retirement-income planning, investment planning, and charitable planning, to anticipating and preparing for long-term demographic and lifestyle changes.

Mike joined the organization in 1993 as an annuity client service specialist. In 1997, he joined the Advanced Product Marketing department, where he developed an extensive knowledge of estate and retirement planning. In 2004, Mike became a regional sales director. In 2006, he became Vice President and national director of The Hartford’s Retirement and Wealth Consulting Group, which provided thought leadership and financial education focused on retirement and small-business planning. In 2012, he joined The Hartford Mutual Funds.

Mike earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Eastern Connecticut State University. Mike is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors. He is FINRA Series 6, 63, and 26 registered and holds a life, health and variable insurance license. He currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife, Kim, and their children, Josh, and Em.

Check the background of this firm/individual on FINRA's BrokerCheck.

Michael Lynch is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC.

Check the background of this firm/individual on FINRA's BrokerCheck.