Navigating through different priorities and visions for the future

Jun 21, 2021 | Jean-François (JF) Droz


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When couples start working on their financial plan they are often surprised how far apart they are in setting financial priorities and a vision for their future. A disconnect in life goals and priorities is one of the many money concerns couples have.

While we often think about money as an object to settle transactions, it also involves complex feelings and emotions. For example, one partner may want to save money to help their children purchase a house while the other partner would rather encourage their children to rent, save and live on a tight budget in order to accumulate enough savings for a down payment. Neither objective is better than the other. Money represents different meanings and goals for different people.

If you and your partner have different priorities or visions for the future, it’s time to have a conversation about setting goals that you both connect with before you start working on your financial plan.

First, have empathy and keep an open mind while listening to your spouse’s objectives. One spouse might be more emotional and may just say the first thing that comes to mind. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just a personality trait.

Second, both partners should spend some time thinking about the three or four things that are really important to them and why. Remind yourself that your pool of money is a finite resource and it will be exposed to small and large fluctuations you may not have much control over. This will help you talk about what you expect your money to do for you, as logically as possible. When it comes to making financial decisions, it’s often advised to not let your feelings take over your thoughts.

Finally, try to group your goals into categories that are important to both of you, such as financial security, emotional fulfillment and long-term personal achievement.

Once you have a common vision for your future, you will then be able to set goal-oriented strategies and focus on the priorities that contribute to reaching that vision.

It can be challenging to get a clear view about what you want your money to do for you during retirement. For many, it’s easier to accumulate money and create wealth than live off their wealth.

My role as a fiduciary advisor is to help you brainstorm what is important to you and make sure that you put in place sound strategies to increase the odds of reaching your goals.

If you have any questions or would like to review your financial plan and priorities, please feel free to reach out to me at jean-francois.droz@rbc.com or 416.414.6354.