Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How Personal Financial Planning Saves Marriages

This semester I am teaching Personal Financial Planning to about 40 MBA students and undergraduate seniors at Pace University. I am using Prof. Lewis J. Altfest's book on the topic, published by McGraw-Hill. Prof. Altfest was once a student of mine when I taught at Baruch College. Now he is a national expert on counseling people about their financial concerns. He and his wife Carol have created a thriving independent financial advisory firm that stresses behavioral analysis along with economic and financial analysis.

This approach makes a lot of sense to me. Those who counsel couples about marital problems often put money issues high among the causes of marital discord. It is the number-one issue in the way of intimacy and commitment, and the number-one issue leading to divorce. But, as a participant on a multicultural connections site observes: "Money is not just about money. It represents a lot of things. It represents power, self worth, territoriality..."

In other words, a good financial advisor doesn't just help people manage their money well to maximize their net worth. A good financial advisor can also help save marriages and other relationships.