Episode 20 – Opening Up the Communication Floodgates

Do you want to talk to your spouse about getting ready for your fall season, but you’re not sure where to begin?

Today, Danielle Howard will help you open the communication floodgates by exploring how to have thoughtful, meaningful, and intentional dialogues with your spouse about what to expect in retirement.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • About the four areas of your financial life to reassess as you go into your fall season
  • How our life experience can influence our mindsets surrounding retirement
  • How to open up to your spouse about retirement and create a fall season based on shared values
  • About the ways that financial planners like Danielle can help guide the communication process
  • And more!

Join Danielle now to learn how open communication can ease your transition into your next season of life!

[00:00:02] Welcome to the Wealth Done Differently Retirement Podcast. Danielle Howard a certified financial planner shares insight into the financial tools techniques and temperaments needed to make the most of your retirement dollars and relationships. Danielle bridges the gap between Wall Street and Main Street bringing complex financial topics down to earth. Danielle will educate and inspire you as you define and refine your version of prosperity.

[00:00:35] Hello and welcome to Wealth Done Differently Retirement with Danielle Howard a certified financial planner. Today we’re going to be talking about communication and I’m excited to get into this Danielle and I always have great communication. Good morning Danielle how are you?

[00:00:47] Good morning Aric. Yes we do talk about money.

[00:00:51] Yeah exactly. Now money talks and we’ve all heard that saying and we can talk about money for sure, where are we starting today with this conversation?

[00:01:00] Aric did you know the divorce rate for adults over 50 has roughly doubled in the past 25 years? For adults over 50?

[00:01:11] That’s you know I didn’t know that. And that’s terrible because you would think that people that are over 50 would have been married for quite some time and hopefully the relationships would get stronger at that point.

[00:01:22] You know I think there’s a lot of reasonings for this.  There’s a lot of research out there and they’re showing a lot of a lot of thoughts around it, but I do know that money is an issue. It is always an issue whether you’re newly married, starting out your family or heading into the fall season of life ReWirement, ReFirement, Reaspirement. And I think that the the financial aspects of it when you’re looking at 30 a 30 year shift and you know living life together of you know maybe your leaving a career where you have been going to a job from 8:00 until 5:00 every day and all of a sudden you’re at home. We know that there’s a lot of reasons for this;

[00:02:12] there’s a lot of adjustments in this transition.  And the financial context of it is very it’s profound when you look at splitting up and that’s never good for either one of the partners. And I truly feel it is worth the time investment. It is worth the conversation.

[00:02:32] It is worth trying to work things out if at all possible. Yeah. At any point any time there should be conversations about that for sure because we all hit rough patches. I mean this year my wife and I’ll be celebrating 25 years of marriage, and it hasn’t been golden perfect for 25 of those years. You know there have been some rough patches we’ve had kids, we’ve had job losses, we’ve had job changes, state changes. I mean just the list goes on and on. We talked a lot about that in our in our last podcast with your guest Evan that there’s clutter in our lives and there’s emotional clutter as well not just physical or financial clutter, there’s emotional clutter that can get in the way sometimes and I think it’s so important to have that open communication.

[00:03:16] I think when we’re looking at between 2500 to 3000 financial transactions per year.

[00:03:24] Yeah and many of them are rote who don’t even think about it. They’re set up on ACH’s.  They’re automatic. That you know again that clutter can keep us from really accomplishing what is truly important in our life especially as we move into your fall season. So today you know we want to take a look at I you know I got the Roaring Fork River flowing outside my window here and yeah a few days ago we had an ice dam break. Oh. And it was the craziest thing just all of a sudden you just heard this raging water coming out my back window and I looked out and all these logs are floating by in these ice. It was beautiful. It was scary. It was. It was flood. And I think the same with money it can be kind of frozen up over time or it can let loose and we go through different seasons with money flowing through our life. We could look at you know what lies upstream that with talking and communicating with our aging parents or what’s downstream talking to our adult children. And today I want to focus on what’s midstream how do we communicate with our significant others and our spouses as we contend with these these life transitions that are that we are experience in the fall fall financial season of our lives.

[00:04:53] Absolutely.

[00:04:54] So where do we want to start with that? Well I think you know what we want to wade into is the you know the communication that goes into this new season and to look at how maybe it is different from what it was as we’re in that you know the accumulation phase of life.

[00:05:15] You know we may have had a lot of conversations earlier in our life about you know how much insurance do we need because we’ve got young children at home, or how much should we be putting away for quote unquote that retirement season, or what should our budget be with a young family and how much do we spend on the kids versus you know vacations and all of that.  All of that changes as we move into the fall season of life.

[00:05:45] And I think that the goal of all of this is that we want to have thoughtful, meaningful and intentional dialogue.

[00:05:54] Danielle That’s a great concept and a great idea but that doesn’t always happen in an easy way especially when emotion is involved. When you talk about having this meaningful conversation. How do you even begin that? Where do you start with that?

[00:06:11] I think first of all we have to look at the context of the four different areas of our financial life. Ok. And when we can we can say well there really are four areas of our financial life.

[00:06:22] It might be a little easier to create conversation points around them. We’ve talked about what changes in your financial life as you look towards ReWirement, ReFirement is how money comes into your life. That’s going to change and there’s a lot of conversation that needs to happen around that. Next we want to look at how we share.  You know how we share maybe our time,our talent, our treasure and how do we do that with others in a way that we maintain that sustainability in our own lives and prepare properly. How money comes in? How we share it? The next area would be how we grow and protect what we have. This will change in your fall season of life. Some people may say I don’t need to grow it. Other people may say I don’t want to protect it.  But I would say the majority of people need to wrap their heads, hearts and minds and have conversations around what that looks like.  Why you want to grow and protect what you what you have. And here’s a big one how do we decide what to spend our money on?  So creating that intentional spending plan that joyful intention around spending decisions in your Fall Season of Life. Again it’s going to be very different. I know when we had four kids at home many of our financial disagreements and the challenges came around how much do we do for the kids we had a blended family which made it even more challenging.

[00:08:06] But how do we make these decisions about what we do as a family or how much is enough for the entertainment or the what they’re doing in school activities and that all changes into more conversations around what do we do as far as travel or what are we needing with health care or Medicare supplements or how do we decide you know how much do we want to be spending on a mortgage or rent. All of those spending decisions really change as you move into that fall season of your life.

[00:08:46] Yeah I mean just thinking through some of these. You brought up four that I wrote down how money comes into your life. That’s its own subject but I really think those last three tie in together so much. I mean they’re kind of tied together very tightly. How do we share what we have with others. How do we grow and protect what we have and how do we decide what to spend our money on. And you said you know you had your four kids in your home. It’s also when your kids are out of the home. Right I mean my my youngest just moved out last year and I still have to, as a father, and she’s my daughter, and so that’s that’s a whole different dynamic there, but I have to think about OK what can I do to help her but not just enable her. Exactly. How can I help her to budget correctly without saying OK well here let me let me give a couple hundred bucks to help you with that bill or that bill because does that teach her the lesson she needs to know. And going back to your example you have four kids at home you can have two kids that are incredibly into education and love to study and learn and great at homework and two kids that are into all every sport and so there’s a ton of money going out for all the sporting equipment and all the activities whereas the other ones maybe they’re not as active outside the home so there’s not going to be a whole lot of cost to that for those two children specifically. And maybe they will look at it as unfair then you’re in the middle of an emotional thing with kids and oh my goodness there’s so many things so how do – you know, what ideas do you have or what examples do you have for conversation starters that can make this a little easier for us.

[00:10:17] Well I think you touched on a very important point. So just circle back around to that is the communication with adult children and to be on the same playing field with your significant other or spouse when it comes to that.

[00:10:32] I work with a lot of clients and in having conversations and even in some of what Mark and I have had to do with our adult children, it’s like how long do we pay the cell phone bills. That’s right. You know how long can they… You know they move back into the house? What are the financial implications of that? You know so I think those conversations with adult children need to be had. And then touch exactly on what you are saying. How do we help them without enabling them? How do we you know communicate? and that we can have a whole other podcast on that one. Absolutely. But for you and your spouse to be on the same page and in agreement with this. And sometimes that just takes some time. But in order to get on the same page I think the first thing is you know for many people who’ve been in a long term relationship like you know you guys have been together for 25 years. Mark and I’ve been together for twenty seven. You know we pretty much know each other and I think we also have gotten to the point where we know ourselves. But I think it’s time to as we move into the fall season of life to maybe revisit that and to look in our mindsets. Shakespeare said To thine self be true. So to know yourself and this may be looking at how did your parents retire? It looks very different from you know 20 years ago when there were pensions and maybe you had a parent that had worked for the same company for a really long time and they had access to a pension. And you know they were set for their life between Social Security and a pension you really didn’t need to have outside investments. That’s all changed. But share your money stories about what family members went through in their lives around that season of life. Mark and myself his parents passed away pretty early. His mom was 57 and his dad was 66. And so he didn’t see them go through that retirement season. And that’s been very different from my parents. My dad is now 85. My mom is turning 80 in a couple weeks. And they had a very very very different retirement life than what his parents experience. So you know it’s important to talk about this because we get mindsets around how that impacts our decisions. For Mark he you know wants to…. when you have family members that passed away early, It’s more about live now. Live in the moment. True. Let’s do it now. And I’m going – Oh my goodness you know my parents are still around and I’ve got this long life ahead of me and we need to temper things we need to make sure we’ve got that savings. And I think having these conversations in a non-judgemental manner. You know tell me your story. So what I hear from you saying about this is.. and you know again I eat, breathe, do with the stuff every day so it’s easy for me, And you know start a topic of conversation at a dinner party with with either family members or close friends around them. But I would say it’s for most people this is foreign territory and to come about it from you know let’s let’s talk about this over a glass of wine and be non-judgemental and just get the emotions out on the table. So what I hearing you say is you want to go on this big vacation now because you didn’t see your parents experiencing that. And so living in the moment is a little bit more important to you. And we can you know play out the ramifications or look at what might be the best for our situation when you can share the money stories in a non-judgemental and and be inquisitive and curious. Tell me more and just bring everything out into the open and onto the table.

[00:14:51] Absolutely. And Danielle you’ve said this many many times before and it rings so true in the situation you have to be intentional meaning you have to. If this is something that you feel that you need to talk about I’m pretty sure your spouse is probably on the same page. They probably need to talk about it too. You’ve got to schedule that time to actually sit down and do it or else. Life gets in the way. And all of a sudden we’re it’s 2020. Welcome to the new year and we have… We still haven’t talked about it.  An entire year has passed so I think that that’s really important. I’ve heard you say that time time again and I would assume that’s one of the biggest pieces of this puzzle.

[00:15:28] Yeah. Creating that that time. Whether it’s a money date for you to just say let’s let’s get away from the house.

[00:15:37] Let’s go on a walk. Let’s get out and let’s dream let’s dream about our future. What are what are we rewiring for? or reaspiring to? And I know for many people when I sit down and work with a couple many people have not talked about this. It can be kind of scary because it our again our media our our world comes out as and has told us it’s all supposed to be bunnies and kitties and wonderful living life sailing off into the sunset with a cocktail in hand dressed in white linen.

[00:16:13] But in reality our future holds a lot of uncertainty not only about the good stuff but maybe some of the challenging things about long term care about our future health.

[00:16:27] We and that we will be better prepared if we you know we dream about the future but we also take the realities of you know aging. It might be pushed out. You know 70 is the new 50. And great I’m all about that. But still we are aging and if we can let’s let’s dream about the future but also realistically look at what maybe some of the challenges are.

[00:16:58] Yeah, Absolutely. I mean that’s the you’ve got to look at the challenges or else you’re just being blind to what could possibly hinder you. Right.

[00:17:05] And I think you know many times people you know I find in working with my couples that he has his idea of what retirement looks like and she has her idea.

[00:17:16] And again many times it is precipitated on what they’ve heard on TV or what they think they’re supposed to do or what they should do. And I will have people peel that apart you know tell me more. Oh she wants to go back to school. She’s done the stay at home mom. She now wants to move into a you know career or start a business where he’s been working and he’s ready to you know go play golf hardcorp for a year. Let’s put that all out on the table and let’s find that common ground based on your shared values.

[00:17:53] Danielle That’s so funny that you bring that up because I’m finding myself in that situation right now. For the longest time my wife and I were on the same page about what retirement would look like where we would possibly want to be. We both thought about being near water. I’m completely drawn to water. I want to be near the ocean or I want to be near at least a very large beautiful lake or large river I’ve just feel like my soul is connected to it and that was always on the table for retirement. And then we had grandkids and now my retirement is tied to a location of where the grandchildren will be because that’s what my wife wants. And you know and I’m okay with that even if it’s going to be here in Flatland Nebraska with zero water around me I’m not going to break her heart right by saying hey we need to move to South Carolina which is one of my one of my goals. Maybe it’s going to be a vacation home in South Carolina now instead of a full move but we were on the same page for many many years and then we had grandkids. Now I know that no we will be close to them no matter where they go. So I’m really trying to encourage them to move to South Carolina. That’s my plan right. I can get them to go we’ll go. But anyway no it makes it, it brings it right to the forefront because like you said you’ve been married to somebody for a long time and he has an idea and she has an idea. Where do you meet in the middle kind of thing. So it’s always interesting things change.

[00:19:14] It is.

[00:19:14] It’s an exchange but I truly believe that if you peel it back and you look at how can we create this next season of our life based on some shared values and what’s really really important and then put some of the other pieces you know you say that the water speaks to your soul.

[00:19:33] And I think that is you know how do you honor that too.

[00:19:38] And again whether it is a vacation home or you guys just talk and discern. All right. Well for one month a year we’re going to do a you know a home exchange to where you know maybe we can have the grandkids down with us and be walking on the beach.

[00:19:55] But the main thing is you’re talking about it and you’re recognizing that the values have changed a little bit and there’s some that have stayed the same. And how do you you know. Yeah that give and take. How do you how do you do that and then what are the financial implications of that. That’s where we have to discuss the numbers.

[00:20:16] You know reconnect with everything you have and how it is or possibly no longer working for you and I you know I give always give a variety of examples whether it’s your home, the equity you’ve built in that home, the amount of home you have, the maintenance that you’re doing on that home or whether it’s the financial products that you purchased over time and 30 years later you’re going. And what did we have and where is it?

[00:20:46] And we’ve got various retirement accounts sitting in individual IRAs or Sep IRAs or simples or 401k is what needs to happen with all this? to sit down and really put everything out on the table when it comes to the numbers and understanding how this shift from the accumulation phase to the distribution phase needs to be talked about.

[00:21:15] Absolutely.

[00:21:16] Again that’s great. And we have covered really making the time to discuss everything now that we’re discussing how do we create that plan? What’s your best advice for that?

[00:21:28] I think people need to decide if they want to do this on their own or if they need somebody to be their advocate.  You know money is tough to discuss and tough to talk about. And in what I do with the financial life planning is I have the tools and the techniques to really guide people through this process whether it’s the numbers crunching or educating you as to all the financial tools that you have and how to use them to head in the direction of your dreams.  Or if it’s walking alongside people to look at the difference between a budget you know that guilts you into where you’re spending or not spending your money and creating a spending plan that is empowering and very intentional.

[00:22:17] I’d like to think of that.

[00:22:18] You know the same idea of I’m on a diet or I’m choosing to eat in a healthy way and to live a healthy healthy physical life. So get your team together decide on whether you want to do this yourself. And I know for a lot of people out there you know you’ve worked hard over your life and maybe you have accumulated some assets. And I know that as I’ve worked hard the benefit of that is my you know our financial life has bloomed and we have a lot more resources and financial pieces than we did when we met early on in our life and the economic season has changed the tax season has changed. And it’s complicated. So why not bring the professionals onboard.

[00:23:10] I guarantee it is worth the, it doesn’t need to be me but find the person out there that will guide you in putting together a plan. Now we only know a plan is as good as the day it is delivered and yet put on the table in front of you because it’s all about strategic changes that happen and dealing with those life transitions. But I think that initial idea of gathering all the bits and parts and putting it all on the table and understanding what’s important to you and getting some guidance in how to have these conversations and you know a lot of it is somewhat counseling or therapist or listening (exactly) to my clients when they when they come in instead of me just saying okay this is where you need to go.

[00:23:58] Yeah. No and you said it best because I think about the discussions my wife and I have had and every husband and wife has these types of discussions. You take the time you make the date you sit down and you discuss kind of what you’re thinking out loud. And there’s always a part of us that says OK I’ve said it. She heard it. So now she agrees with me. And that’s a lie I tell myself too many times and then I know that my wife has said the same thing. OK. He heard me. So now he knows what the plan is. No no no no no no. But we all do it.  Exactly we all do it. So there’s a there’s a part of it that says yes great job having the discussion. But just like you said now it’s time to make that plan. And that may be the perfect time to bring in that third party so that you can then put that plan down on paper and then when something’s written out and you have a question wait a second that’s not what I said Honey we didn’t talk about how we were going to implement this. Oh But yes we did because I said that this way that third party. Right. You said therapist I’m not going to label you a therapist but dog gone it you’re close. You can then interject and say OK so how do we make this part of the plan where it fits both people’s wants desires and needs whatever that is. I think it’s always a good idea to have a third person or a witness there for what happens.

[00:25:17] This is a new phase of life. You know I remember back when you know we were again second marriage. This is new terrain for us. And we had to get help. We had to get support. We had to listen to people who had been through it and were in the midst of it and know that we were not alone and thinking we were crazy or whether it’s with you know new kids and so understanding that this we’re in the process of completely rewriting what this new season of life is about. This is new terrain. Never has life expectancy gone out as far as it has. Never have people been so unprepared for this new season. And you know many people will find themselves transitioning out of careers or daytime activities that have had a life unto themselves. So knowing that it takes that village and we want to look at who you’re surrounding yourself with whether it’s a transition coach, a life coach, or retirement coach they’re out there and financial advisers that will work alongside them and financial therapists if need be. And I also think it’s really important for people to look at the new people that are finding their way into your life. When people rewire you may move, you may find yourself in different social settings. And I think that again finding yourself like minded people… in my personal life we like to hang out with people who are okay doing potlucks and playing games. And I know that there’s a large group of people out there that just want to meet go out to restaurants and order the biggest bottle of wine. That doesn’t fit for who I am I might be able to afford it. That’s not the question but in my mind it isn’t. I’m not living in my financial integrity or authenticity. If just because I can go spend that kind of money, I do it.  Because it’s not going to resonate with my soul. So building your tribe of people who are like minded and who are enjoying the same types of things that you enjoy who are looking at you know..

[00:27:42] Are you getting involved in volunteer organizations around town.

[00:27:46] And what speaks to your definition of success and true prosperity.

[00:27:52] I think that that is so important. And I know we’re running out of time today but I think that’s a great note to end on. How about you?

[00:27:59] That works good to me. Get to build your tribe.

[00:28:02] Surround yourself with people that understand you and are like minded. I think that’s a great way to live life. All right Danielle thank you so much for your time today.

[00:28:10] You are welcome Aric.

[00:28:12] I invite people to check out our eight week retirement e-course that we have going on now. You can take this from the comfort of your own home in your pajamas (nice) at whatever time of day or night works for you. You can start these conversations with the people in your life significant others sitting across at the breakfast table from you. Can call us if it’s appropriate for you to drill down on the specifics of your situation. You can find what we do in a journey of financial health on our Website WealthbyDesign4U.com and you can find the E course at DanielleHoward4U.com.

[00:28:58] All right that is great and I hope a lot of people that are listening to this will be reaching out because we are well into 2019 now and there’s no better time to start. So thanks again Danielle I appreciate your time.

[00:29:09] Thank you. Keep me posted and come up and visit the valley, the water on the Roaring Fork River.

[00:29:17] Oh that sounds really good to me. And thank you all for listening to the wealth done differently retirement podcast with Danielle Howard. If you have not subscribed to the podcast yet please click the subscribe now button below. This way when Danielle comes out with a new podcast, It’ll show up directly on your listening device. This makes it much easier to share these podcasts with your friends and family. And if it’s time for that conversation and your little shy about bringing it up just give this podcast to your significant other make them listen to it.  Say hey there’s some pretty good information in here. We should listen to it or listen to it together that’s even better. Again thank you for listening today. For everyone at Wealth Done Differently Retirement, this is Aric Johnson reminding you to live your best day every day and we’ll see you next time.

[00:29:57] Thank you for listening to the Wealth Done Differently Retirement Podcast click the subscribe button below to be notified when new episodes become available. The information covered and posted represents the views and opinions of the guest and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Wealth by Design LLC. The content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional investing advice.  Always seek the advice of your financial adviser or other qualified service provider with any questions you may have regarding your investment planning. Danielle Howard, Certified Financial Planner is an investment adviser representative of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors a registered investment adviser. Securities offered through Cambridge investment research Inc.

A broker dealer member FINRA SIPC Cambridge and wealth by design LLC are not affiliated.

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