“I just don’t get money matters!” is something we’ve heard many a spouse say. For a solid and secure financial journey for the Indian household, this needs to change, is how we see it.

That’s why, when we meet prospects and clients, we strive to elicit behavioral cues – in the form of information and opinions – from both spouses. Also, while giving advice, we arrive at a mean investment strategy that factors what we call ‘family values’ into the advice we give.

Put simply, we firmly believe that both domestic partners should have a say in money matters. Briefly speaking, here’s why.

A recent tweet by Michel Kay made me think about how we as a family take financial decisions. It flew in like this. “When it comes to merging two money lives into one, understand that your belief and attitude about money comes from your childhood and your ‘normal’ might be only yours and not your partners”.

How comfortable we are saving and spending money is something that we begin to pick up as early as childhood. Family values influence how we feel about money for the rest of our lives.

Speaking of families, your spouse, you must remember, comes from a different family. They may or may not have been raised the way you were. They may think differently about money.

A banker’s son may be risk averse. On the other hand, it’s fair to say that the child of a stock market broker will be more adventurous. You can tell a lot about a person’s background by looking at the way they manage their money.

These and other insights I found in a great book called ‘Seven stages of money maturity’- by George Kinder, a topic I explored further in a course by the same name.

Spouse and the Family
Research has shown that in India, the wife takes the backseat when it comes to family investment decisions. This may not be the ideal way.

This is not to say we don’t work with some very acute and very driven lady investors. We do. What we have learnt from these relationships is that women have an intuitive grasp of how best to manage money.

We keep this in mind when we plan finances for a family, profile both spouses, and elicit views from both of them. Doing so can at times prove challenging, but we persist, because we have seen that our clients have benefitted immensely from this approach in two vital ways, tangible and intangible.

One, it leads to more productive investment decisions. And, two, there is creation of a vital glue called ‘Family money’ and the enhancement of well-being on account of tighter knit families. Happy spouse, happy family investing!

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