Audio and Video
shannon, prenup, relationship, aaron, love, finances, financial, couples, married, conversations, tim, work, great, communication, spend, spouse, clients, money, people, financial success
Tim Scannell, Matthew Hoffman, Kimberly Hoffman, Shannon Weinstein, Aaron Thomas
Matthew Hoffman 00:00
Welcome back, everybody to the Kickass Couples Podcast. We are stoked to have an all star panel with us today to talk about how we build a stronger future together and get into winning financial strategies. For couples. We have three terrific panelists with us today. We have Shannon Weinstein. She’s a fractional CFO for growth minded business owners, a CPA, a teacher at heart, and her handle is financial solutions.com Shannon, welcome to the Kick ass Couples Podcast.
Shannon Weinstein 03:01
Hi there. Thanks for having me.
Matthew Hoffman 03:03
We’re glad you’re here. We also have joining us today, Aaron Thomas. Aaron is as a top expert in family law, a divorce attorney. And he also started a new endeavor called prenups.com. And we’re going to hear more about that in his time with us today. Aaron, thanks for being with us.
Aaron Thomas 03:19
Thanks for having me.
Matthew Hoffman 03:21
Our pleasure. And then Tim’s Scannell, a client focused wealth manager and another CPA with over 34 years of experience. Tim, we are glad to have you in our midst.
Tim Scannell 03:34
Oh, thank you for the opportunity. Yes, it’s great, thank you.
Matthew Hoffman 03:37
Great, well, we’re going to have some fun kind of getting into some issues that often trip a lot of individuals and couples up in their number one human relationship. But before we dive in, and start with the questions I would love to hear and Tim, maybe if you’ll start for us, give me your 32nd elevator speech just so we can ground for our audience of what you do and what your take is on some of our talks today.
Tim Scannell 04:01
Sure, I’ve worked as a CPA and a certified financial planner for like you said, 34 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of different couples of different stages of their life, where we create wealth management plans, and then help them kind of as an advocate for them, monitor and manage those plans. So that’s really what I do. And I’ve been looking forward to this meeting. I think we focus on a lot of the same 14 principles that you guys do, and I’m looking forward to it.
Matthew Hoffman 04:29
Thank you. All right, Aaron. I’m coming back down to you.
Aaron Thomas 04:32
Yeah, I like you said I’m founder prenups.com. I write prenups to help couples stay married. I am what you’d probably describe as a former marriage skeptic, who has now been happily married for several years himself. And I take the lessons that I learned from having litigated over 1000 divorces over the past two decades, to help couples learn what to do and what not to do to build the foundation for a successful and healthy marriage.
Matthew Hoffman 05:00
Beautiful. Thank you. All right, Shannon, we’re gonna come around to you.
Shannon Weinstein 05:04
Hey, I’m Shannon Weinstein. I am a fractional CFO, as you mentioned, but I help people keep more of what they earn so they can achieve their life’s goals, which also means aligning with that of their partner, their significant other, their family, and incorporating that into our business owner coaching. So the whole point of running a business is to make money. And the whole point of making money, hopefully, is to enjoy it and actually pass it on through wealth building. So that’s one major why behind what we do.
Matthew Hoffman 05:32
Beautiful, thank you.
Kimberly Hoffman 05:35
Welcome all of you. And I’m going to come right out of the gate and ask you, Shannon, why are financial issues so difficult in relationships? And why do they cause so much conflict within relationships,
Shannon Weinstein 05:51
I’d say financial topics are difficult period. And then adding the complexity of discussing it with a partner. It’s a very intimate topic, it really is. And it’s a lot of source of insecurity, it’s a lot of source of fear, and everyone has their own money story. And it’s really hard to kind of carry that trauma on your back into a relationship, and to kind of have to share it with that person. And there’s a lot of insecurity that comes along with that, I just find that with a lot of couples, business owners like that. They’re everybody has their own association with money, what it means to them, if they see it as a hindrance, or as a tool. And there’s different attitudes, and you have to navigate that it’s almost like a love language or communication, you may be saying completely different things to one another, trying to get to the same place and the same mission, but you’re going about it differently, because you speak a different language through money.
Kimberly Hoffman 06:42
Aaron, would you have anything to follow up with on that?
Aaron Thomas 06:47
Yeah, I think, you know, I think Shannon makes a great point that, you know, talking about money is so taboo in our society. Anyway, it’s such a difficult topic to broach. And when you combine a relationship on top of it, you know, your credit score isn’t exactly first date material, you know, your credit card debt isn’t exactly third date material. And it’s difficult to find the right time to kind of break down that wall and be transparent about, you know, what your views on your finances are.
Kimberly Hoffman 07:15
And I love that transparency, right? That’s huge. When you get down the road a little bit in a relationship becoming transparent about things and as you said, vulnerable about things plays a big role in your relationship.
Matthew Hoffman 07:34
And Tim, what are your thoughts on that? About do you think that financial officers are so difficult for the people that you talk with, to approach and kind of get into?
Tim Scannell 07:44
Yeah, I like what Shannon said about their money story, their history, where they first learned about money, you know, we also refer to to, like money, personalities, I just think that people come to the relationship, everyone’s got such different skill sets, different ways of communication, you know, I’m an internal processor, my wife’s an external processor, you know, just all that mix makes it really hard for bringing up any major topic and money is so important to the to the relationship. So I just reiterate what Shannon and Aaron both said too.
Matthew Hoffman 08:16
Beautiful. So I’m gonna come back to you next, Aaron and say, you know, what pitfalls Have you seen in your experience in the courtroom, but also in talking about prenups that occur most commonly, when you work with clients on financial issues? Like what are the big holes that most people seem to fall in?
Aaron Thomas 08:33
Yeah, I think, you know, a lot of it stems from not not communicating about finances. People don’t find it romantic or a sexy topic to broach and as a result, you know, both spouses go into their relationships with a lot of assumptions and things that aren’t discussed. You know, are we setting up joint bank accounts? Are we keeping separate bank accounts? And without having, you know, intentional conversations about what your financial relationship is going to look like? You can end up with a lot of imbalances and inequities. You know, one thing that I’ve learned from, you know, 1000 divorce cases is that two spouses living in the same household but in different socio economic classes, doesn’t work. It’s a recipe for tension and resentment.
Matthew Hoffman 09:23
Great point. How about you, Tim?
Tim Scannell 09:26
Yeah, I think that communication is a big issue. Sometimes when we first meet with people. It’s almost like it’s the first time they’ve ever really talked about their philosophy of money and how emotional money is in the meeting. So like, one of your key points, your 14 pillars, I think, is conflict and problem resolution. I’m not sure that a lot of people think about how to how to solve it or how to address it. I’m not a mediator. I’m not an attorney like Aaron, but I’ll just say that oftentimes within a meeting and I feel like I should have studied more psychology.
Matthew Hoffman 09:58
So people don’t really know how what I hear you saying is people don’t know how to approach the subject, how do they start? Or how do they get it out there? Or maybe they want to, but they, they’re not sure how to jump in. So when, when any of you kind of as a follow up coming back, and then Shannon, I know we need to give you a chance. And maybe you could address this, when people don’t know how to have that conversation. Right? When you’re thinking, Oh, no, they haven’t really talked about this issue or and here I am trying to help them with something they haven’t approached yet. How do you approach that? Or what are your some of your thoughts about that?
Shannon Weinstein 10:33
So I have an interesting approach to this, which I was gonna mention is much like a prenup, which my husband and I did we we kind of came up with we have a funny, hilarious hypothetical, sit down, while whatever, while we got along great before we got married, and we thought, what are the ways we could screw each other? Like, what are the ways that this could go sideways? What are the ways this could go wrong in a hypothetical hyperbolic way? That was almost cartoonish. So like, what are the ways that this movie could end badly? And it was all in imagination, it was not going to happen. But we said, what if we came up with all the silliest ways that we could have this go south, and then it actually was on the table. And then it was interesting, because it’s almost like we took the power away from all those situations, because we actually addressed it and said, If this happens, this is what we’ll do, when we are clear headed when we love each other dearly. And I say the same thing, when you have those conversations is to bring up these conversations, like I was thinking with Aaron with prenups. And you don’t have the conversations until you need to have the conversations. And by then there’s heightened emotion, there’s tension, there’s stress, there’s anxiety, there’s a lot of other things that come along with waiting. So I say, while you are the happiest. have those conversations, because then you’re thinking really clearly. And you’re looking out for the best interest of each other.
Kimberly Hoffman 11:54
Yeah, I hear you saying have a plan.
Shannon Weinstein 11:57
Kimberly Hoffman 12:02
How about for you, Tim? If you were to have you sit down with two young people who have not, are not married yet. Now, what would some of that advice be?
Tim Scannell 12:17
Yeah, so one of the things that I find is that I can ask maybe questions, other advisors can ask questions, independent people can ask questions that maybe that are emotionally charged, like money, and that they may be they’re not comfortable asking, for example, I always joke that if my clients get that Tell, tell my kids what to do, I will tell their kids what to do, they probably all do it, you know, just because there’s less emotion involved. But when I first meet with a couple that is getting ready to be married, they go through a checklist and really talk about, you know, what, what do you feel about credit cards or debt, for example, that’s a really big one. Because you find that some people walk into a marriage and they have no problem with that other people just can’t sleep with debt. So just asking about what their philosophy is about money, trying to identify what their personality is about money. Not even really looking at the balance sheet at that point, but just getting a feel for how they think about it. I think that’s more important upfront.
Kimberly Hoffman 13:14
Love that. And Aaron, would you follow up with anything? With you know, a couple that comes into you. They’re contemplating marriage contemplating a prenup.What might you say to them?
Aaron Thomas 13:28
Yeah, one of the one of the great things about having a prenup, or at least going through the process of preparing a prenup is that for to be enforceable in pretty much any state in the United States. both spouses have to disclose all of their assets and debts to each other, and their incomes. And just that process alone can be eye opening for couples, you know, I mean, today’s marriage is just so much more complicated than it was for, you know, my parents generation or my grandparents generation. And my folks were married in the 1960s. And back then people got married around age 21. You know, they likely had one bank account between the two of them, you know, no student loans, no credit cards. 401 K’s hadn’t been invented yet. I mean, they were really like kind of a blank slate financially. Whereas the average couple gets married today is closer to 2930 on a first marriage, and they likely have four or five bank accounts, each three or four credit cards, each a couple of retirement accounts, maybe a small business, a home with some equity. And so, you know, the couple that got married in the 1960s, it was like, it was like a startup in your garage, you know, from a blank slate. A couple getting married today. It’s like a corporate merger and you were located you’re way more complicated, and we give her credit for so yeah, just getting transparent about where you are. And, you know, you’ve got a decade of financial habits since you moved out of your parents house that might be more important than all the assets and debts, you know, that you bring into a relationship.
Kimberly Hoffman 14:54
Yeah. So transparency, no hiding things. Let’s just put it out. All out there. so that we’re both clear on what we each had and what our history our financial history might be.
Aaron Thomas 15:19
That’s exactly right.
Matthew Hoffman 16:05
I love that. And I think that, you know, you talk about as asking the right questions, right, which gives you visibility. And I loved what you said earlier, Shannon, when you said, you know, having the conversations is the important part. And I think, you know, couples struggle, when there’s conversations that they should have had, and they never did. And bringing those things forward. When things are going well, it’s much easier to talk about, as opposed to being in kind of that height of passion. And you know, I’m sure each of you, people come to work with you. And people have varying ideas of what financial success is. So I’m curious. And Shannon, I’ll ask you to start if you don’t mind. What, when you’re working with a client, how do you help them define financial success? And what is your definition of that? And or coaching them? How to ook at that the best way?
Shannon Weinstein 16:54
Yeah, it’s so funny, because I’ll ask my clients constantly, what’s your goal this year? And they’ll say, 2 million in revenue. I’m like, Okay, why? What is that gonna buy you? What is the point of that. And then they realized that their goals, their financial success, or their goals, the ways that they’re measuring themselves are actually just based on some type of growth from last year, or whatever what someone else is doing, or someone else’s definition of success. And when we really get to the root of it, the goal is something as simple as I want to send my girl to private school next year, I want to be able to take an extra vacation, I want to work 10, less hours a week. And they may not sound like financial goals, but they end up becoming financial goals, so that you’re unable to do those things. So what’s really important is to get to the root of the why behind a goal. And for me, financial success is feeling like you’re accomplishing all of these goals, because of the power of you mastering your financial future, whether that is saving for retirement, or maybe it’s buying a vacation home, or spending more time with your family, all of that ties to financial success to me, and I think it’s a different definition for everybody.
Matthew Hoffman 18:02
That’s great. So, Tim, when you think about financial success, and the clients and the people that you work with, is it more about them measuring what you do for them? And how well you do it? Or is it more about helping you having you teach them how to achieve what they want to achieve? Like, what was that dance like in your, in your experience?
Tim Scannell 18:21
Sure. What I found is like to Aaron’s point that the people are getting married later. And I also find that they’re much more practical, and they’re much more set in their ways. So they already have we come to oftentimes come to the meeting with a really good feel for what they want. But they don’t really have a feel for it that yet is okay, we’re getting married, maybe we want to have family. No, maybe I need one of us has to find childcare or work less or work more. And they want to quantify that. And I think there’s just a lot of questions about that. What does a find like? They’re, they’re more than more than want to quantify what it means if they make this abrupt change, because they’ve been doing what they did. And you know, to Aaron’s point, maybe you get out of college and you get married, you don’t really have those set ways. But if you’ve been working for 1015 years, you’ve accumulated assets, you’re making income, you’ve got a career, it just seems like people are putting more thought into it. And they’re much, much more on to quantify it. You know, what does it mean? And what do I have to give up? And to Shannon’s point, you know, they’re looking for maybe the why, but then also what does it mean in terms of financially?
Matthew Hoffman 19:27
Sure. And for Aaron, would you say that the work that you do is more is it preventative? Like we don’t want these things to happen? Or, like what’s the proactive side of the work that you’re doing now of like, Hey, we’re doing this so we can achieve this success? Well, tell me what that looks like in the conversations that you’re having.
Aaron Thomas 19:46
Yeah, I mean, I think it comes from both angles. I think that there is a preventative aspect to it as well as kind of a proactive planning aspect to it. I mean, you know, an example from a preventative standpoint is, you know, one thing that I’ve noticed with with you know, couples We’re going through divorces, you know, couples really don’t like when a lot of money goes, you know, is spent without any kind of communication or discussion beforehand. And so, you know, one thing my wife and I did when she’s also a lawyer, when we wrote our prenup was we put a rule that anytime someone’s going to spend more than $500, from the joint account that we have to have a discussion first. And by creating that rule ahead of time, it doesn’t come off as punitive, you know, after someone’s spent money. And the argument has already started, you know, that, that now we’re having to reel back or, you know, exact some punishment on one spouse or the other. And then from the other angle, in terms of, you know, planning, you know, I love what Shannon says about kind of, like, you know, getting specific about what your financial priorities are ahead of time, and then building your life around that. So an example is, you know, a couple may love travel, you know, travel was my big thing. And so my wife, and I decide, we’re going to put 5% of all of our take home income into a travel fund. So that whenever we want to take a trip, you know, the money’s already there for where we’re planning for, you know, this dream life that we want to have, for some people, it’s a house fund or you know, a baby fund, or starting, you know, a side business fund. But, you know, you can use this opportunity to kind of map out your future rather than being reactive to problems after they’ve already arisen.
Matthew Hoffman 21:16
Kimberly Hoffman 21:18
So, Tim, you have a newly married couple that’s just sitting down in front of you. And what are three things that you would say to them as a newly married couple that they should begin doing.
Tim Scannell 21:33
Well first, I want to mention that when I first got married, I came home with a car and I got a lot of trouble. You are totally spot on, and learned quickly, that was a bad idea. But I will say, what I tried to do when I first meet a married couples, when they come in, or they’re about to get married, a lot of it is really talking about how do you spend? Do you each have bank accounts? I think I mentioned I think more and more after they’re married, they’re maintaining their separate bank accounts. But I we always stress that there needs to be transparent about it. But I think we all the spending patterns, your philosophy on debt, you know, where are your assets? You know, where do you Where does your bank account? And what are your goals? Because we want to help them quantify whether they’re getting married? Are they planning a family, you know, what’s that going to cost? So I think that that those are the three things really just trying to identify how they spend, what their philosophy is about debt, and also where they have their assets. And so we can get a feel for what they’ve been doing.
Kimberly Hoffman 22:37
And so, Shannon, in adding to that, what are the three things that you could say that they could do to achieve those things?
Shannon Weinstein 22:46
So I, you know, just like Aaron is a house of lawyers, we’re a house of entrepreneurs. So So what do we do we actually do a quarterly meeting. So we actually have we have instituted this idea that the quarter end, we take stock of all of our money and where it is, and is it doing its job? Meaning, if it’s in the checking accounts, it’s available to us, if it’s in property, how is that going? Like if it’s in a rental property, like we’re going do we want as all of our money where we want it to be? And can we recalibrate? So we recalibrate every quarter? Where are assets, Where’s our money. And to everyone’s point here, you know, we got married at 30-32. So we were the same, we were the merger of two very, like, independent people. So we had a lot of complexity. So I would say that if you’re coming into a relationship like that, you should set up some type of routine, like we said, set up the conversation, put it on the calendar and say every quarter, we’re going to update this thing, maybe one person is more financially inclined to go maintain it. But you have every quarter we update it, and we sit down and talk about it, we go, here’s where all our money is, maybe there’s a trip we can take or maybe there’s more in there than we thought we’ve been earning interest. And we say, hey, you know what, we do have some extra money in here than what we thought, let’s do something. And we actually get to start there and plan together for the next quarter or for the next year, and be engaged in the conversation. So I would say put some time on the calendar to have those meetings. They’re actually fun when you can kind of plan and forecast together like what you’re going to be doing. And that also takes a lot of the taboo out of it, because you know, you’re going to have these meetings every quarter. So you don’t have to wait until it’s not an awkward time to bring it up. The other thing I would say is, like I said, be fully transparent, show all your cards and actually ask for help. So if one person is a little bit more financially minded, and one is a little more insecure about finances, I say don’t be afraid to lean on your partner for help. They are there to help you. I can’t tell you how many couples I’ve seen, where one has shame and won’t admit to the other one how much trouble they’re in or won’t admit to the other one, you know that they don’t know something because they are afraid of how they’ll be perceived by their partner. So I would say you have to let go of the shame this person is here to support you and root for you. And the best way is to have these discussions together. I, personally, I’ve seen a lot of couples come to the table with tax debt or tax problems that they don’t tell the spouse about. And it causes a ton of stress later. So I would say just being fully transparent from the gecko, and creating an environment where you can both share those things with each other. They all it all goes back to communication at the end of the day. Those are probably my top tips.
Kimberly Hoffman 25:21
Matthew Hoffman 25:22
So what are I’m curious. And Aaron, maybe you want to start with this one? I’d love to hear from this all three of you on this? What are some of the biggest fallacies or false beliefs that people hold? About money and finances? Like what can what can you what rumors Can you guys dispel for everybody today, some of those beliefs?
Aaron Thomas 25:48
You know, I think that I think a lot of people think that you have to be a financial expert, or, you know, to have a say, in your home finances, you know, like, like Shannon said, there’s, one person that is, you know, typically going to be, you know, more financially inclined, maybe in a household. And, rather than looking at it, like that person controls the finances, I like to look at that person more as like the CFO. You know, I know the business people will here will understand that where, you know, a CFO is not somebody who is lording over the finances or dictating what happens, they actually serve the good of the company. And so they are required to come back and report on the state of the finances to the other spouse, they have a duty to come back and report to the shareholders or the couple, you know, what’s going on with the finances, rather than, you know, kind of being in charge of the finances, they should look at themselves, like in service to the relationship. So I think, you know, that just because one person has more knowledge about the money, or maybe one person earns more money, doesn’t mean that they are the person who should have the power over the money in a household.
Matthew Hoffman 26:57
Love that idea of the shared concept. Tim, what would you add about that? What are what are some of the false beliefs that people come to when they’re working with you? And what what can you help dispel? And give us a clearer understanding about money in dealing with finances?
Tim Scannell 27:11
I think there’s two things. Number one, a lot of people will say that they need more money, or they are not ready to get married, but not ready to have kids because they don’t have they haven’t accumulated enough, you can never have enough, right? I just think that you don’t, then you don’t understand what variables will come at you and hit you. You know, job changes, losses, things like that. So I think sometimes I find people wait longer than they maybe have to just because they don’t feel like they’re financially ready. And then the second thing would be, I really am a firm believer in division of duties based on skill sets, you know, if you’re buying a house, or even buying a car, and nothing creates more stress for me than going to a dealership and trying to negotiate a car, whereas my wife likes it. So, you know, division of duties is something that I think you figure out over time, but we’ve been married for 37 years. But um, I think upfront, you just got to be open to the fact that you can’t do everything. And it’s not all going to happen together. And you need to split up some of the jobs.
Matthew Hoffman 28:11
Sure, sure. Shannon, would you add anything?
Shannon Weinstein 28:14
I totally agree. Giving up your financial power does not work. Because then you’re in a more vulnerable position. If God forbid something were to happen, or something doesn’t work out, that you’re not feeling constrained or tied down to your partner because of something financial. Yeah, that was what I would add. But I echo everything these guys said.
Kimberly Hoffman 28:35
So Shannon, part of being a successful couple, and I’ll take it even further being a successful parent is really being able to teach our children financial literacy. And I would ask you, how do you go about doing that? Are there tools out there? Are there programs out there? How can we teach our children, our children how to be financially literate?
Shannon Weinstein 29:01
I love this question so much, because it’s such a passion of mine. I volunteer and donate to Junior Achievement, which is a phenomenal program nationwide that helps educate people educate children on the fundamentals of Money, Finance and entrepreneurship in their schools, which I think is so important because I can’t tell you how many grown adults don’t understand our tax system, and yet know how to do geometry. So, so usefulness of skills is key. But to answer your question, I think it’s, I would love to apply. I mean, God helped my children are going to hate me when they get older, but my dad did this to me. My dad bought me a stock in Toys R Us instead of a toy. And he said, This is a piece of the whole toy store. And then he used that to teach me what a stock was. And I was 11 and like, it was like getting socks for Christmas. For sure. 11 year old is like what the heck is this? I don’t understand like a piece of paper. Can you imagine right? But then like 37 year old me is going that was off Some. So I think that we have to integrate money into the conversations with children make sure money is not a hindrance or a reason to say no to something we can afford it, be careful of the language, but also integrating them into money decisions. So one thing I would love to do with my children one day, is say you have a budget of X dollars, like furnish a home or like go, we had to do this in elementary school, we had to go through magazines, remember when we bought stuff online through catalogs or not online, not online, but in catalogs. And we had to furnish a home with a certain budget, and we had to be like, we can’t afford this couch if we want this kitchen. And we have to balance all this stuff. And we were like in fifth grade. And I think that when you can start having them exercise that part of their brain, which will help them make decisions and understand that you can’t have everything you’re going to have to give here to take here. You’re going to have to balance this out and make decisions based on money. It really does empower them a lot sooner in life than thinking that it is something that is going to limit them as opposed to help them expand.
Kimberly Hoffman 31:03
That’s a terrific answer. Aaron, do you have anything you might add to that?
Aaron Thomas 32:15
Yeah, I think kind of along the same lines, I like to use the concept of of what I call bunny buckets. So you know, it’s not as important you know how much you spend as I mean, what you buy is what you you know, how much you spend. So, for example, you know, a lot of households will think, okay, you know, we’re going to have a joint bank account, but we’re each going to get an allowance, quote, unquote, that goes into our own separate accounts that we can spend without oversight, and we have our own say over how we spend it. And you can go further than that, you can set up a money bucket for your child, you can even set you know, a money bucket for your, for your pet, if you want it. But for kids, you know, giving them kind of that autonomy and the power to make decisions about how they spend their money. Rather than coming in asking for permission, you know, for every single time they want a toy or a piece of candy. I think that inherently teaches them how to budget if I you know, by purchasing this piece of chocolate, you know, I can’t get the Paw Patrol toy I want. You know, later on, you can tell I’ve got a toddler. And it’s, you know, the same thing, I think that is healthy for adults, you know, separating out and having, you know, the ability to spend some money, the way that you want to spend, it can also be healthy for kids. And they’ve learned some of these things naturally through that process.
Kimberly Hoffman 33:29
Tim, do parents, sometimes bring their children into your meetings to have them be a part of a small part of the process?
Tim Scannell 33:40
That happens rarely. But it’s always on the agenda. And we talk to them a lot about it. One of the tools I’ve seen used successfully is using just like small donor advised or charitable funds, and basically setting up an account and saying, all right to your kids or grandkids, it really works very well with grandchildren, you know, you have the ability to give $1,000 to some nonprofit, you know, go out and research and come back to us and tell us why. But it does is it creates collaboration among the family that allows parents and grandparents to pass the legacy information about where the money came from. And it also teaches them giving back and it is really a really good learning lesson. So I just think that’s one tool that I’ve seen used. And when we talk to clients, parents and grandparents, we always kind of throw that out there as one way for them to connect and pass along legacy and financial skills.
Matthew Hoffman 34:35
So, Aaron, we we talked a little bit about the whole concept of prenups. And Shannon mentioned it too. Oh, and by the way, Aaron, I forgot to say earlier, Kim and I have that agreement about the $500 limit, like you know, neither of us are spending 500 unless we’ve talked to the other one, right. And so that’s a rule that we came up with. So it’s a good practice. It does work and I think we even do it for lesser amounts because we’re both nervous About I know that nervous but concerned about making decisions unilaterally, right. But so, you know, prenups Prenuptial agreements are a sticky subject. In fact, I have a personal story about that, that I won’t go into right now. But how do we, in the conversation that you and I had originally about this? It’s, it’s not just about who has what and who’s going to get what, right. What what is the how do we look at that in a fresh way, where it’s advantageous as opposed to the stigma that so many people associate with it?
Aaron Thomas 35:34
Yeah, yeah. I mean, you can’t have a conversation about prenups without acknowledging the stigma that surrounds and many people just hear the word prenup and they immediately have a visceral reaction to it. No, I look at a prenup as like a partnership agreement for your marriage. You know, a prenup is a set of rules that governs what happens, you know how finances are treated both during the marriage and after. And I think you know, the public perception is that it is just, you know, a plan for divorce. I look at a prenup is kind of, you know, setting out a lot of these rules and the rules of you know, the rules of the road, the shareholders agreement, you know, that, that sounds like Shannon has, you know, on her calendar, the same way that I do the rules about, you know, spending limits that a lot of us have, and, you know, kind of defining what your relationship with money is going to be in your household? You know, you wouldn’t, you know, if you think about the analogy of a partnership agreement, you wouldn’t start a business with somebody and say, we’ll figure out you know, who owns what percentage of the business or what everyone’s rights and responsibilities are in this business? Only way down the road. If this business splits up, you know, you want to have an not everyone has to get a prenup. But you have to have the conversations about what each person’s rights and responsibilities are, you know, what accounts are you paying bill from? Are your is your income going to go into your separate accounts? And then flow into your joint account? Or is it going to go into your joint account, and then you each get an allowance that goes into your separate account? And I think that starting the conversation, instead of just launching it and saying, oh, we need a prenup, you start from the angle of what you want to actually accomplish? You know, would it be a good idea for us to be transparent about our assets and debts and income coming in? To our relationship? Would it be a good idea for us to sit down and have a quarterly or at minimum an annual meeting where we discuss a certain agenda of financial topics in our household? Should we have spending limits? Should we set aside, you know, a travel budget or a baby budget? And then yes, like any good partnership agreement or business agreement, what happens if things go wrong? You know, Can we can we lock in a fair resolution that we can both agree on? Well, we love each other, and communication and trust is high. Rather than leave ourselves to, you know, potentially our worst impulses, you know, down the line, when communication has lost trust has been lost, we’re angry at each other, we want to punish each other, and lock in a fair resolution at the beginning of our relationship. You know, if you’re, if you believe that everything is equal and should be 5050, then you can put that down on paper at the beginning of relationship and take it off the table.
Kimberly Hoffman 38:18
Right? When there’s always the situation where one person might come in very wealthy, right? And that can create a lot of stress it can it can create conflict within the relationship. And so I think, setting that out in the very beginning is is huge for a relationship.
Matthew Hoffman 38:40
So, Tim, do you have anything to add to that about that concept? I’m sure that’s something that you deal with in your practice and working with people and what thoughts do you have about or how does that come up? Or does it when you’re talking about wealth management and financial planning,
Tim Scannell 38:55
So it does come up in what I’ve learned is the importance of a team approach. And I need to bring Aaron people like Aaron and Shannon into meetings with me because I’ve tried to discuss the, you know, productions in particular, and I failed at it. And part of its I don’t have one, so it’s not personal, I’m not gone through it. So I always stress that we need to bring in people like Aaron, like Shannon and other experts who have that skill set and who can explain it and implement it and do a much better job because I see the value in it. And I have clients who have them, but they haven’t because I’ve brought other team members and other professionals in to help with the process.
Matthew Hoffman 39:33
Anything else you’d like to add to that concept, Shannon?
Shannon Weinstein 39:35
No, I think you guys covered it. Great.
Matthew Hoffman 39:38
Okay. And I wanted to share with you two that I know Kim’s gonna jump in in a sec, but we it Kickass Couples Nation, you know, there’s been an evolution we do relationship coaching, and we have this podcast and the things that we’ve understood and determine that Kim and I have done for ourselves is we will talk more about our 14 pillars later and those the first three of those are the three C’s What’s your commitment communication and conflict? Resolution? We’ve actually done what we call an RMC relationship Magna Carta, where we’ve spent time together saying, What does commitment look like? What do we want it to look like in our relationship? And what does it look like in action, and then written down the things that we’re going to agree to do for each other relative to commitment and relative to communication, and relative to conflict resolution. So we have a document that says that, so when one of us is not necessarily happy, or concern, like we can say, hey, I don’t think we are doing a great job of this together. And we developed it together, no one told us to do it or how to do it. But it was our agreement on what Aaron was saying earlier, our roles and responsibilities of how we’re going to work together to both get what we want and support each other. And I think everybody’s really good in relationships and talking about what they want. But when we get to the how, that’s when it seems to get sticky, because there’s different viewpoints, opinions, and experience on that process. So I appreciate what you all have said about that concept.
Kimberly Hoffman 41:09
Shannon, I have a question for you. What do entrepreneurs get wrong when they are trying to grow their business? How long do you have? So that’s a loaded question. I really narrow it down to maybe two or three points.
Shannon Weinstein 41:29
Yeah, absolutely. I would say honestly, I think that most entrepreneurs plan for the present, and not the future. So what they’re doing is behaving reactively, saying, I’m not big enough yet to insert good behavior here, right? I’m not big enough yet to hire an accountant, I’m not big enough yet to get to get good bookkeeping, I’m not big enough yet to focus on X, Y, and Z that’s going to grow my business. And I think that they keep themselves small, it’s a limiting belief that I’m just this little thing, it’s just, it’s just a side hustle. It’s just a, it’s just a startup. And then they don’t behave at that next level to be able to grow their business. And I think that if you keep yourself small, and you tell yourself the story of this is what I am today, instead of looking at what your potential is, that’s a big factor. And I think that leads to certain things very tactically, like not having good bookkeeping, and not having any type of professional assistance to help get you set up, so that you’re not really setting yourself up on a good financial foundation.
Kimberly Hoffman 42:29
And Tim, as a planner, what would you add to what fan in the saying,
Tim Scannell 42:35
I work to great extent with commercial contractors, plumbing, heating, etc. And I find a lot of these owners are accidental owners, they were great plumbers, and they just for any number of reasons, they created their own plumbing contracting firm, and then they just do everything, you know. And as a result, the clients talk to them. So part of it is just not letting go. And realizing you have to delegate and you have to hire and staff some of the positions. And then the other part too is is from the book E Myth where you know, you really need to budget and set aside time to step back and look at the business and work on it as opposed to in a day to day.
Matthew Hoffman 43:15
Great advice. So I’m going to do a little rapid fire one word, fill in the blank with all three of you. And Aaron, I’m going to start with you, but you all gonna get the same question. So those going second and third have a little advantage. So what’s the most important thing, Aaron, for financial success in a relationship? You’re gonna give me one word. What is that word?
Aaron Thomas 43:39
Communication. Everything builds off of that, I think.
Matthew Hoffman 43:43
Kimberly Hoffman 43:44
Matthew Hoffman 43:44
Shannon, what about you? The most important thing for financial success is…
Shannon Weinstein 43:49
I would say clarity. It was not an advantage to go second because he took mine but I would say communication, but then clarity, because I think you need to be sure of what you want and be able to express it.
Matthew Hoffman 43:58
Kimberly Hoffman 43:59
Matthew Hoffman 44:00
Thank you come up to you, Tim. What’s most important thing,
Tim Scannell 44:04
I’ll go with the number one pillar and that’s commitment. You know, you put put down the goal put down what you want to accomplish, but you have to be committed to it.
Matthew Hoffman 44:12
Beautiful, thank you.
Kimberly Hoffman 44:16
So I’m gonna ask I’m going to ask you, Aaron, are there any are there any financial concepts or questions that we haven’t asked? That you might feel a burning desire to answer?
Matthew Hoffman 44:32
What should we hit?
Kimberly Hoffman 44:33
Yeah, what have we missed?
Aaron Thomas 44:37
You know, I really love the the business analogy of, you know, of looking at a relationship. And you know, you know, I know that I am, you know, the founder of prenups.com. But even if couples don’t get a prenup, or it’s too late for them, I don’t think that it is, you know, a bad idea. You know, you guys talked about having your Magna Carta. And I think that putting things down in writing, there’s just, you know, it takes on another level of significance. You know, writing down the budget, writing down what your goals are with each other. And having really like a playbook for your finances is so important. You can’t build off of it, you can’t edit it, it allows you to look back on it in the future and see, you know, what we agreed to this time last year or the year before. So, you know, documenting what it is that you’re doing, I think is critically important.
Kimberly Hoffman 45:32
Yeah, it’s like another level of accountability to me, you know, we did this Magna Carta, and then we realized we didn’t sign them, like we have to sign it. It doesn’t mean anything, if we didn’t sign it.
Matthew Hoffman 45:44
John Hancock. That’s right.
Kimberly Hoffman 45:45
But having that accountability is important.
Matthew Hoffman 45:50
So we’re gonna do, Tim has done a great job of this and the others, I’m going to ask you to get real specific, we have those 14 pillars that we spoke about. I’d love for each of you all to look at that list. And we’ve talked about commitment. We’ve talked about communication, as you look at those other 12 that are on there. Which one do you think? Or would you say, Hey, I think this is a real important quality when it comes to finances. And here’s why. So Shannon, what would you pick off that list?
Shannon Weinstein 46:23
I’m gonna go with a very non traditional approach and say, number 14, fun and humor. Hear me out. Because finances and money is like eating your broccoli. You need the Velveeta or the ranch, you have to find ways to make it make it tolerable. But here’s the thing. It’s about rephrasing and reframing. So I would say that you should I do this with my clients all the time, instead of a budget, call it a profit plan, instead of the prenup, call it like a mission statement, sit down and come up with what are the goals in a positive way? How do we integrate a little bit more positivity into it so that we can start focusing on the good that will come of this and the benefits, as opposed to the work we have to do to put in now, and I think that gets missed a lot is it sounds like a lot of things that I have, we have to go do this. And we have to go do this. And we have to go meet with this professional or this professional. But it’s actually a fun experience to share that with each other. And I think that actually creates intimacy, it creates the communication, because you have a deeper connection because you’ve shared these deep desires with each other and come up with a plan to make it happen.
Kimberly Hoffman 47:30
Yeah, it’s like eating dessert first.
Shannon Weinstein 47:33
Matthew Hoffman 47:34
Great answer. Aaron swinging around to you, as you look at that list, what one sticks out to you, and how does it apply to our subject today?
Aaron Thomas 47:43
I would say selflessness, my observation has been that in any relationship where each spouse is literally doing exactly 50% of the work, each spouse feels like they’re doing 70% of the work. There’s just there’s something about the relationship where, you know, the other spouses contributions, which can be financial or non financial, are invisible to us. But we see everything that we contribute to the relationship. And I think that if you go in with a spirit of selflessness, where you say, You know what, I’m going to do my best to give two thirds to give 70% to this relationship, that that’s a better way to go about it, than trying to keep score and make sure that you know, your spouse is doing their fair share in the relationship.
Matthew Hoffman 48:35
Yeah, that’s a that’s a great point. Appreciate that. And, Tim, you you’ve been great about some references throughout our talking today. But sir, another pillar that sticks out to you that you enjoy you there in your own relationship and working with your clients that you think is apropos?
Tim Scannell 48:51
Yeah, I’m gonna go with security because security is so different for every client that I work with. Because money is so emotional, and everyone’s money personality is so different. So for example, I have clients who just only believe that whatever’s in the bank is their financial security that the rest of it is just it gives them hives, they just don’t want to talk about it at all in you can force him to talk about it, but you just got to I don’t know that there’s beneficial over over time. So I would say finding out what is what security means to each of each person financially and emotionally. And as part of that I’m an advisor but I always try to have another person come in like a coach hopefully they’ll work with a coach because I couldn’t give them advice but a coach I think can draw out really what they want and and help them understand and find it themselves. So it just takes a lot of people I think to make this whole thing work.
Matthew Hoffman 49:46
Great thoughts. We appreciate everybody sharing. You guys have been fantastic with us today and we could keep going
Kimberly Hoffman 49:52
Matthew Hoffman 49:53
with the time and we’ve got a brain trust here with so much goodness in it but you all have been fantastic and we’d like to know So if people want to learn more about you if they want to work with you or talk to you or find out things that you’re doing out there, mister with you, Shannon, where should they go to connect with you?
Shannon Weinstein 50:11
So if you’re a podcast listener, which I hope you are, if you’re here, you can check out ‘Keep What You Earn.’ It’s my podcast available on all platforms. We release episodes daily and would love to have you listened to that as well.
Matthew Hoffman 50:22
Terrific and for Aaron.
Aaron Thomas 50:25
Yeah, your listeners can come check us email@example.com. And we are at prenup guy on all the social media platforms.
Matthew Hoffman 50:35
Tim Scannell 50:37
So I also have a podcast that’s called ‘Wealth Stream,’ they can reach me there or Hightower Great Lakes, they can just go to our website, check it out and reach out. There’s a lot of resources there.
Kimberly Hoffman 50:49
You guys have been fantastic. We are so grateful for your time today. I know that our listeners have gained a wealth of knowledge. So thank you all very much.
Tim Scannell 51:00
Kimberly Hoffman 51:01
Yeah. It’s been fun
Matthew Hoffman 51:02
We look forward to sharing this with you and your listeners and our listeners and keep working together. And we just want to close today with y’all remembering one thing
Kimberly Hoffman 51:12
Happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose.
Matthew Hoffman 51:16
Thank you for joining us today.