When developing financial plans or retirement plans for couples, I often feel like a marriage counselor. In fact, several of my clients tell me I’m the best marriage counselor they’ve met.

While I’m not a licensed therapist, I am a Certified Financial Planner™ professional. I’m often facilitating couples with difficult discussions about money. Some of my clients are even referred to me by therapists.

It’s no surprise that many couples disagree about their finances. Decisions on spending and saving can escalate into emotional arguments.

Using my facilitation skills from my management consulting days, I help them define how they envision their lifestyle. When people share a vision of how they see their lifestyle, it’s easier to reduce the length and intensity of arguments.

I use the 5 P’s of Life to help them identify what is important. The 5 P’s of Life are personal relationships, personal finance, profession, peace of mind, and physical health.

For each category, I have a series of questions to help them define how they envision their lifestyle. At the end of this process, they become aware of each other’s priorities regarding their lifestyle.

Some items they both share. Other items may only be important to one person.

There are even items that are non-negotiable and trump the other person’s priority.

Any time there is a disagreement, instead of having an escalating emotional argument, they refer to their list.

If you and your partner are constantly arguing, try this approach. Share with each other how you see each aspect of your life together.

Use the 5 P’s of Life to address each area. From your conversations, develop a list of items for each of the 5 P’s of Life.

It may take several conversations to develop a list. And as life moves forward, there may be changes on what you envision for your lifestyle.

When there is a disagreement, refer to this list. Ask each other these questions.

Does the item we are arguing about help us achieve the lifestyle we envision?

Does it prevent or delay any part of what we want to accomplish?

What’s the worse thing that could happen if we move forward?

What’s the worse thing that could happen if we don’t move forward?

While you may not have all the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to have rational conversations. By focusing on how you envision your lifestyle together, will help you settle most arguments.

And sometimes, you may agree to disagree … because at the end of the day, your relationship with each other is the most important part of how you envision life.


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

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