According to a study published by StatsCan in 2016, the number of dual income families has doubled from 36% in 1976 to almost 69% in 2015. Modern life means we are busy people. If you are married or living in a spousal relationship, it is efficient to divide and conquer. Having one person tackle your combined investments means you can focus on managing the household budget or otherwise. But having one person manage an aspect of your communal life doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about it, ask questions or be engaged. The President of a company is busy… that’s why they have a Chief Investment Officer (CIO) to manage the firm’s investments… and they meet regularly to review progress. If you’ve decided your partner should manage your investments, make sure you’re the President of your future. Take charge of your finances, meet on a regular basis to stay informed and engaged in the process. If you lose your CIO, for whatever reason, you’ll have the knowledge to handle life’s challenges.
In my practice, well over 50% of client conversations are with men. Although this is common in our industry, the pattern is slowly changing. In my experience, women are good at investing. Some of our most successful clients are women, yet over half of women in relationships are not involved in the management of their investments. There is a general misconception that this lack of engagement is due to poor confidence. In my opinion, our industry hasn’t spoken to women in a way that is meaningful to them. National Bank Financial Wealth Management recognizes that change is necessary. I’m proud that our company has taken a leadership role in partnering with our female clients. The most successful partnerships are when both parties engage.
When one person has sole responsibility for a family’s investments, challenges will arise when that person is no longer able to do so. The longevity of Canadians continues to improve. This is a good thing. In 2018, StatsCan reported the average life span for men and women was 80 and 84 years respectively. Women on average live longer than men and it is probable they will outlive their male partner. Even in a same-sex marriage, it is likely one partner will outlive the other. It’s not just the death of a partner which shifts the financial responsibility in a relationship; over 50% of marriages will end in divorce. If you’ve left the sole financial decision-making to your partner, you may face the challenge of learning to invest while navigating the death of a spouse or the end of a marriage.
I’ve had many conversations with clients asking me how to engage their partner in the investment process. Most of the time this question is asked by men. They express frustration that their partner doesn’t seem interested in their investments or retirement planning. This sense of frustration comes from a place of caring. Worry becomes acute when the sole decision makers sense their life is nearing an end. In my experience, when both partners are engaged there is a balanced approach to decision-making. This can lead to greater financial success and security. Being the president of your future will ensure you have the knowledge to handle any changes life throws at you.
Anna Hilberry, Associate Investment Advisor, National Bank Financial Wealth Manageme
National Bank Financial—Wealth Management (NBFWM) is a division of National Bank Financial Inc. (NBF), as well as a trademark owned by National Bank of Canada (NBC) that is used under licence by NBF. NBF is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), and is a wholly owned subsidiary of NBC, a public company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: NA).
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