Tag: difficult conversations

When One Makes More: How to Manage Financial Inequality

Published in: Blog |

For most of us, talking about money-related matters with our significant other can be an exercise fraught with tension, especially if one person earns more than the other. Even in the 21st century, “financial inequality” remains the norm in many relationships, and can negatively affect the conversations we have with our partners or those closest to us about finances, life/work goals and long-term plans.

But let’s look at some facts that could influence our approach to such discussions. When it comes to female monetary power, wealth in the hands of women — whether assets or income — is a relatively new and evolving phenomenon that shows no sign of slowing down. And consider this positive news: According to the BMO Wealth Institute, women own 51 percent of all personal wealth in the United States. What’s more, women are projected to inherit 70 percent of the $41 trillion in intergenerational wealth transfer expected over the next 40 years, according to researchers at Boston College’s Social Welfare Research Institute.

That said, income gaps between partners remain a more common occurrence than income parity. Men still earn more than women, and the difference between what they earn and what women earn is relatively significant. For example: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015, only 25 percent of female/male couples had annual earnings that differed no more than $5,000. In just 9 percent of cases, the gap between a woman’s higher income and her male partner’s was $30,000 or more; in 35 percent of cases, the gap between a male partner’s higher earnings and his female partner’s was $30,000 or more.

In the changing earnings landscape, we at The Humphreys Group see an opportunity. As women continue to make inroads toward closing income gaps, and as more women become household breadwinners, we believe we can help develop new rules for discussing money matters with the people who are close to us. We can begin to change the tone of these conversations so that both parties benefit, regardless of the amount of a person’s take-home pay.

How do we do this? Through our research and ongoing client discussions, we count ourselves among the financial experts who recommend the following strategies to help improve money-related conversations when inequalities exist:

  • Discuss and acknowledge each other’s values, goals and priorities
  • Schedule time to make financial plans and decisions together
  • Realize the value of the non-financial ways each of you contributes to your lives and households
  • Work to maintain a balance when it comes to household duties and expectations
  • Communicate money concerns with each other and address tensions triggered by financial inequality

You are far from alone if you feel an edge to conversations about money from time to time, especially if financial inequality is a factor in your discussions. But we believe relationships can transcend all sorts of differences and obstacles — not just those related to money — with open, honest communication and understanding.

Contact The Humphreys Group advisors for more insight and information on how to improve your conversations in ways that benefit both your financial relationships and your financial planning strategies.

Are Your Giving Efforts Aligned with Your Values?

Published in: Blog |

It’s no secret: women still grapple with societal norms that encourage us to give generously throughout our lives — of our time, our attention, our counsel, our experience, our leadership and even our physical labor. When we begin to develop financial plans, this emphasis on being generous with our innate resources can cause the idea of sharing our hard-earned monetary resources to feel like a challenge.

However, several studies indicate individuals can feel happier and more engaged with their financial management practices when those practices align with their values, and include “giving with gladness” to causes, organizations and other outlets that matter to them.

The idea of “giving with gladness” is not new, nor is it limited to money. We at The Humphreys Group offer support to clients who want to incorporate giving into their overall long-term financial plans by guiding them to assess how or what they can give when it comes to:

  • Their time
  • Their talents
  • Their treasure

We also recommend that our clients reflect on lessons they’ve learned throughout their lives about the practice of giving to help them examine how they might incorporate giving into their present and future. Some questions we ask them to consider:

  • How have you benefited in the past from another person, organization or cause giving you their time, talent or treasure?
  • How have you benefited in the past from giving your time, talent or treasure to another person, organization or cause?
  • What positive lessons have you learned — in childhood, at home, at school, at work, among friends, from your community — about giving time, talent or treasure?
  • How could these lessons influence you to “give with gladness” now and in the future?

That said, we realize not all giving is done with the spirit of gladness or generosity. Sometimes, our experience with giving has been tinged with guilt, obligation, need or anger. The result? We fear that if we give too much, our financial foundations can become shaky. If we give for the wrong reasons, our relationships with those in our financial landscape may become clouded with resentment, neediness, expectation or disappointment.

To bolster a sense of gladness in giving, we help clients analyze occasions when giving may have prompted stress:

  • Did my giving come with strings attached?
  • How did giving without gladness impact me and those around me?
  • How did I cope with the challenging aspects of giving?
  • What financial strategies can I develop so that I do not experience worry when giving?

At The Humphreys Group, we believe that success at “giving with gladness” lies in each individual developing a plan to share their time, talents or treasures in ways that align with their values and fit within their capacities and abilities. That means taking the time to explore the different dimensions of past giving experiences and learning how those experiences have affected their outlook on and approach to giving. Contact The Humphreys Group’s advisors to talk about developing a giving strategy we all can be glad about.