Every single day at work, I discuss multimillion dollar estates.  Every day I get to work with balance sheets with numbers I can only dream about…hell with numbers anyone can dream about.  Just today, I saw a balance sheet with approximately $21,000,000, and it was only $21,000,000 because he didn’t want it written down that he owns another $9,000,000 of art work.  But something interesting happened while “war-rooming” a new case and it brought me back to reality.

While breaking down the client the assets were relatively normal (not like the case above), he had 2 children (6 and 2), but then when I asked about the income of the client…$460,000/yr.  So this guy, is making nearly half a million dollars a year and isn’t accumulating assets at the level most would at that income.

I asked the planner (remember I am a Director there without clients) if there was any indication as to what was going on behind the scenes of this family?  Well my alarm wasn’t the only one going off, and since we were eventually going to do retirement planning, the Planner had actually went into that line questioning with the client.

Without going into the details, he had two main issues that every personal finance blogger and writer discusses.

The Client’s Family Was Spending Just about Everything that Was Coming in

With very little prodding the client basically started listing his expenses:

  • Two Homes
  • Two Property Tax Bills (which are high where I/he live)
  • Parochial School
  • Pre-K
  • Couple Cars
  • Kids day to Day expenses
  • A Wife

Woah Woah, A wife? An expense…second problem.  I don’t know about you, but mine is my greatest asset.

There was No Communication Between the Spouses

The Client said that his Wife had no idea what was going on with money, expenses, etc…

She Just Spends

On this blog, I rarely venture into these basic tenets of personal finance, because I find them self evident and to be honest…boring to read about.  I often skip over the 30 or so blogs I follow daily, if their headline reads “Spend Less than you Earn” or “Talk to your Spouse.”  But the other day I was reminded, whether you are making $46,000 or $460,000 if you want to become asset wealthy, you need to spend less than you earn and have communication with your spouse.

Should I discuss these basic premises more? Do people need to be reminded the basic laws of personal finance?

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