Two-thirds of high net worth investors in a marriage or domestic partnership collaborate with their partner on key financial decisions, new survey finds.
Couples that pay together, stay together.
A new Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Investor Pulse Poll finds that two-thirds of high net worth investors in a marriage or domestic partnership collaborate with their partner on key financial decisions.
The survey was compiled from responses by more than 1,000 investors across the country with at least $100,000 in investible assets, a third of which have assets of at least $1 million.
“The days when most financial decisions in a household were made unilaterally are clearly over, and financial advisors recognize this fact,” Shelley O’Connor, Head of Field Management for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, said in a statement.“Fully 80 percent of the couples we surveyed said their financial advisor talks with both parties – usually when they meet together as a group. Helping couples collaborate on important life decisions is a key part of every financial advisor’s value proposition.”
What financial topics are most compelling to couples? Both partners are equally likely to start conversations about these topics, the survey found:
Money is one of the primary sources of friction between couples. A CNNMoney poll found that more than twice as many couples fought about money than they do about sex (43 percent vs. 20 percent. And while money doesn’t specifically rank among the top 10 on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale (“change in financial state comes in at No. 16), money issues can be at least in part at the root of life events that place higher on the list, such as divorce (No. 2), marriage (No. 7) and retirement (No. 10).
Most arguments over personal finance can be traced to conflicting attitudes and philosophies about money, according to Bethany and Scott Palmer, authors of Cents and Sensibilty. The Palmers have identified six money personalities:
- A debtor—someone comfortable using credit
- Flyer—someone who doesn’t concern themselves with finances
- Risk-taker—having an aggressive risk-tolerance for growing wealth
- Security-Seeker--having a conservative risk tolerance
This is why a majority of Affluent households (60 percent) would council couples getting married to first and foremost outline their financial goals, expectations and values, according to a 2014 Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner survey.
Open communication, too, is key to a financially sound marriage. "I encourage both (spouses) to be actively involved in financial decisions,” Ben Leshem, managing director at Hefter, Leshem, Margolis, Capital Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, based in Deerfield, IL, told Millionaire Corner. “You never know who needs to know what. When I make an appointment with a client, I ask for both to come in together.”
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.