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8 Keys to Defusing Couples’ Money Conflicts

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Dealing with conflicts between members of a couple is a part of the job that few financial planners speak about or are trained to handle, but that may change now that the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has expanded its curriculum to include financial psychology.

In fact, “The Psychology of Financial Planning,” a new guidebook developed by the CFP Board of Standards and ThinkAdvisor’s parent company, ALM (National Underwriter/ALM, April 2022), includes an extended section about the sources of financial conflict and mediating financial disputes among couples.

Experts with eMoney Advisor also explore the topic in a new online resource published to the firm’s website, “Candid Conversations: Couples, Money, and Conflict.”

According to the CFP Board’s new curriculum and the eMoney report, there are many reasons for advisors to advance their skills in conflict management, especially as it pertains to serving couples seeking to set and execute long-term financial plans.

As shown in eMoney survey data, more than four in 10 investors say a “willingness to discuss difficult topics or life events with me and work through them” is a crucial part of financial planning.

At the same time, three in 10 next-generation clients (those ages 30 to 45) describe their ideal advisor as a “life coach,” while one in five couples across the age spectrum say money is their biggest relationship challenge. Sadly, 41% of divorced Gen Xers and 29% of baby boomers say their marriages ended specifically because of conflicts over money.

These stats are just some of the reasons why the vast majority (80%) of advisors surveyed by eMoney agree that applying financial psychology can benefit the planning process by increasing the ability to provide personalized service, improving client engagement with the plan, increasing client satisfaction and reducing client anxiety.

Ultimately, deeper emotional intelligence and honed conflict resolution skills can be critical to the work of today’s financial planners, experts agree.

See the slideshow for a rundown of eight tips for advisors looking to incorporate more psychology know-how into their practices, drawn from the new publications by the CFP Board and eMoney.

(Image: Shutterstock)