Just because a couple has a prenuptial agreement or keeps separate assets doesn’t mean that the couple doesn’t want to plan together. Kaylin Dillon works with couples who have prenups or maintain separate assets and helps them to work toward a joint financial future.
Dillon is founder of Kaylin Dillon Financial Planning in Lawrence, Kan. She said her market niche came about because of her own experience. She and her husband have a prenup and maintain some assets separately.
“My husband and I have some separate assets and some things we manage separately,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean I want to plan separately. I wish we had had better help in organizing a plan together.”
Dillon said the decision to have a prenup and separate assets “was the beginning of us having a clear plan for what is mine and what is yours. And that really has driven, what we manage that’s separate and what we manage that’s together.”
Many of Dillon’s clients are engaged couples who already have worked with an attorney to create a prenup.
“I take them through a typical financial planning process,” she said. “But we start with more discussions upfront that aren’t about the numbers. I call them the ‘no decision money discussions’ because it lets people know the pressure is off. This is just an exploration. I start the process by laying a foundation of helping a couple know where each other is coming from, because couples usually haven’t had these types of conversations.”
Dillon said she guides the couple through the process so they can answer questions such as:’
What do you value?
What do you fear around money, and why?
“Once you know that another person who cares about you also knows those details, it helps create more of a sense of safety as you get into the process and you have to make decisions,” she said. “It's less threatening when you disagree. It creates more room for creativity and for coming up with a plan that really works for both of you.”
Dillon said her clients have many questions for her to help them answer.
”How should we manage our expenses? What types of accounts should we have? Should we put it all into a joint account? How should we manage cash flow? Once we get into the planning, then questions can range from: Can I afford to retire early? to What would it take for me to be able to leave my job?”
Dillon said she believes everyone deserves to have a safe place to discuss money, and that talking about financial issues should not be intimidating for couples.
“If a couple is willing to work on figuring out how to get on the same page, there's really no case where those two people can't get on the same page. They both must be willing to show up. But other than that, I believe it can be done.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.