In this episode of Motley Fool Answers, Alison Southwick is joined by Motley Fool personal finance expert Robert Brokamp, who talks about the latest thoughts on how to make your savings last through retirement. He also shares a recent interview with Dr. Megan McCoy, a licensed marriage and family therapist, on the topic of financial therapy.
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This video was recorded on November 3, 2020.
Alison Southwick: This is Motley Fool Answers. I’m Alison Southwick, and I’m joined, as always, by Robert Brokamp, Personal Finance Expert here at The Motley Fool. Hey, Bro.
Robert Brokamp: Hi, Alison.
Southwick: In this week’s episode, we’re joined by Dr. Megan McCoy, who is going to tell us everything you want to know about financial therapy. All that and more, on this week’s episode.
Southwick: So, Bro, what’s up?
Brokamp: Well, Alison, you know how I love talking about safe withdrawal rates in retirement.
Southwick: Yes, I do.
Brokamp: Just can’t get enough of it, so. But for those of you who don’t remember, the safe withdrawal rate is the amount retirees could take out each year for their portfolios and be reasonably sure that their money will last as long as they do. And most people know nowadays that the rule of thumb is — 4%. And it’s just not important for retirees, people who are working use this as a benchmark for determining when they’ve saved enough to retire. So, if you read any blogs about the FIRE movement — FIRE standing for Financial Independence Retire Early — you’ll see plenty of discussion about the 4% rule.
The rule was first revealed to the world in 1994, when Financial Planner Bill Bengen published the results of a study which found that 4% was the amount you can withdraw in the first year of retirement. Adjust that dollar amount for inflation for each subsequent annual withdrawal in a portfolio that was 50% large cap U.S. stocks and 50% intermediate Treasuries, would not run out of money for at least 30 years.
His findings were confirmed a few years later by the so-called Trinity Study; since it was published by three professors at Trinity University in Texas. And 4% has basically remained fixed as the rule of thumb for individual investors, as well as professional financial advisors. I’ve heard many professional financial advisors use 4% as their baseline advice.
That said, in 2006, Bill Bengen published a book in which he increased the safe withdrawal rate, which he calls, by the way, the SAFEMAX. He increased it from 4% to 4.5%, mostly due to including small cap stocks into the retiree portfolio, so it’s 50% bonds, 30% large caps, 20% small caps. And he has stuck by that 4.5% ever since; until now.
Last month, Bengen published an article in Financial Advisor magazine and he made a few important points. First of all, it’s important to remember that this 4.5% is a worst-case scenario withdrawal rate. The average SAFEMAX over the 30-year period since 1926 was actually 7%. And it got as high as 13% one year. We can thank 1968 for 4.5%; that historically was the worst year to retire, even worse than retiring right before the Great Depression, because the next 30 years subjected retirees to two dreaded conditions, No. 1 high inflation, and No. 2 subpar stock performance during the first several years. In fact, the S&P 500 was essentially flat from 1968 to 1982. But despite those conditions, 4.5% ended up being a safe withdrawal rate.
Bengen’s recent article essentially asked, is there a way to look at current conditions and determine whether someone can take out more than 4.5%? And he suggested two data points. First, potential stock returns; and for this Bengen updated research from financial planning expert Michael Kitces, which found that someone who retires when the stock market is highly valued, should take out less than someone who retires when stocks are cheap. Where are we now? Well, the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio, also known as the CAPE, is at 31.6, the third highest point in history according to the website of Robert Shiller, the Yale economist who popularized the CAPE. That suggests that someone safe withdrawal rate should be no more than 4.5%.
But what about inflation? The consumer price index is a measly 1.4%, and Bengen’s research suggests that low inflation adds 0.5% to the withdrawal rate. So, the bottom-line here is, the father of the so-called 4% rule thinks it should now be 5%.
Now, many experts disagree with this, with the No. 1 reason being that interest rates are so low, you’re talking about a portfolio that’s half in bonds and interest rates are below 1%, which is significantly below the historical long-term performance of bonds, which is between 5% and 6%. One such person is Wade Pfau, you can go to his website RetirementResearcher.com to see his research, but you could also revisit our conversation with him in our March 19, 2019 episode. And I being, sort of, generally a cautious person, would find it hard to recommend 5% to someone retiring today, but who am I to argue with Bengen, who before becoming a Financial Planner, earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from MIT; so, he’s no dummy. And he follows his own advice. He retired in 2013, and in a recent interview with MarketWatch said that the withdrawal rate that he uses is — 5%.
And that, Alison, is what’s up.
Brokamp: Today’s episode of Motley Fool Answers is going to be a Fool Live interview that I had with Dr. Megan McCoy, one of my former professors, while I was earning my graduate certificate in financial therapy. I hope you all enjoy it.
Brokamp: So, I’m at The Fool for 21 years and I was a Financial Advisor for a couple of years before that. And one thing I’ve learned is that financial decisions are often emotional decisions. And like many investors, I’ve tried over the years to, sort of, learn more about the feelings behind the finances, and I stumbled across something called financial therapy. I eventually earned a graduate certificate in financial therapy from Kansas State and had the pleasure of taking a class taught by our next guest.
Dr. Megan McCoy is the Director of the Master’s Program in Personal Financial Planning at Kansas State, is on the Board of the Financial Therapy Association, and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Dr. McCoy, welcome to Motley Fool Live.
Dr. Megan McCoy: Hi, thanks for having me.
Brokamp: It’s so good to see you again.
Dr. McCoy: [laughs] Yeah. No assigned readings for you.
Brokamp: Thank you, thank you. Although, I always enjoyed it. So, let’s jump straight into the topic here, what is financial therapy?
Dr. McCoy: So, as you mentioned, I am a Marriage and Family Therapist. And that is a little bit of the backstory between financial therapy. In 2008, John Grable, Kristy Archuleta, Sonya Lutter- Britt, Dorothy Durband all came together and invited financial professionals and mental health professionals together, and they said, what can we learn from each other? There is such an intersection between financial wellbeing and overall wellbeing that we need to be talking more. And so, financial therapy’s origin story was really adapting what we know about mental health to financial planning services to financial planning done right.
Brokamp: It’s interesting, because it does seem like that the pioneers, like you and the folks that you mentioned in financial therapy are mental health professionals. Yet, most of the people, at least one in the classes I took and then when I attended the financial therapy conference back when we had conferences, they’re mostly financial professionals. So, there is this acknowledgement among the certified financial planners and financial advisors that to get people to do the right things with their money, you have to somehow modify the behavior or, sort of, couch the advice in certain ways. Is my experience about right, that the people who are most interested in financial therapy are financial professionals?
Dr. McCoy: Absolutely. And so, many financial professionals are like, I don’t like the word “therapy.” And I always like to equivalate it to you are massaging someone’s relationship with money, like a massage therapist or an occupational therapist, that we use mental health techniques in a way that’s safe and within your scope of practice as a financial planner, to make you better at massaging people’s beliefs and attitudes and values around money.
Brokamp: So, what are some of the more common issues that people have and that they turn to a financial therapist for?
Dr. McCoy: One of the biggest ones is simply the fact that money doesn’t mean the same to all of us. Some of us see money as power, some of us see money as safety, some of us see money as fun. And a lot of times, interestingly, we seek out partners who have a different money view than us. The spender seeks out a saver, and the saver seeks out a spender. These are super-specked there, but because our views on money are so vastly different, when we have a conflict with our money, we’re like two ships passing in the night, we’re not even talking about the same thing. I’m talking about power; you’re talking about safety. And how do we get on the same page when we’re not even talking about the same thing? That’s a dead one we see.
Brokamp: Any other ones? I mean the ones that come to mind for me, obviously, as sort of the retirement expert here at The Motley Fool is people who aren’t saving enough. And generally, if you’re not saving enough, it might be because you’re spending too much, might be because you’re gambling, might be you’re doing something suboptimal with your money.
Dr. McCoy: Right. And some of it, like you said, can be more pathology, like, gambling or compulsive spending. But a lot of it is just non-intentional spending or not privileging and focusing on putting your money where your values are. You know, changing it is, you’re not budgeting or dieting, you are intentionally spending money in the areas that are going to make you happy and not doing in the areas [laughs] that don’t make you happy. That’s a very big one.
You know, another thing I see a lot nowadays, especially, is financially supporting adult children and having different views about how much to support their children, when to stop supporting children, parents fighting about it, siblings fighting about this, those kinds of things are coming up a lot right now.
Brokamp: So, what are some of the common solutions, like, if someone goes to a financial therapist and has these problems, what will a financial therapist help them do?
Dr. McCoy: So, I think financial therapy is like the stature, right, with financial planning on one side and mental health on the other side. And you, kind of, can move up-and-down based on your education, your comfort, and things like that. But I think the best stuff that I encourage my students to do is asking the right questions, truly, exquisitely listening to the words of clients and understanding that resistance within clients, when the clients don’t do what you ask them to do. That is not a sign of them being bad or not good clients, but rather, you guys not being on the same page and you guys needing to figure out different goals that motivates or engages them in a different way.
Another really important thing about financial therapy training for financial planners is getting all your stuff resolved, all your history with money, all your beliefs and attitudes about money to the surface, so you have this power to adapt clients’ plans to really what they want, not just what you think is the correct way of doing things.
Brokamp: I think it’s interesting, one of the interesting things I did as part of getting my graduate certificate in financial therapy is taking some, basically, just kind of diagnostic tests that sort of — it’s sort of like the classic Cosmo quiz, right, you answer all those questions. Of course, there’s more thought behind it and more academic evidence. And so, you answer all these questions about your attitudes about money, your behaviors and things like that, and it makes some sort of diagnosis of what kind of person you are in relation to money.
Any resources or tests that you would recommend for the average person to take?
Dr. McCoy: One of my favorites is called the Klontz Money Script Inventory. And there’s all different ways you can categorize your money, I talked about it vaguely about security and power. But Brad Klontz and his father Ted Klontz, created these money scripts, and there’s four of them that are really interesting. They have a wonderful scale, again called the Klontz Money Script Inventory, that you can google, and you’ll find that you can take it yourself and see. But you might recognize them just by the description.
So, I […] money avoidance individuals. [laughs] Money avoidance individuals tend to feel insecure about their money or may have some kind of moral, ethical hang-ups around money, like, money is really evil, I shouldn’t pay attention to it, that kind of thing.
Then there is money status, and those are individuals that equate their net worth to their self-worth. They want to have symbols of their achievement.
Then there’s money worship. And these are individuals who somehow think that, like, wealthier people are somehow different to them, or that somehow if they had more money that all their problems would disappear.
And then there’s money vigilant, which most of your listeners probably are money vigilant. Care deeply about their money, they pay attention to their money, the only problem is that, if it goes too far, sometimes it makes them feel financial anxiety, and even though there’s no real stressor, just a constant little low-grade worry about money, or they may be secretive around their money, not want to share with a partner and things like that.
Brokamp: Yeah. So, I scored very high on money vigilance. And it was interesting, because some of the other issues that were discussed in financial therapy are things that actually do probably increase the chances that you’ll be good with your money, but it doesn’t increase the chance that you’ll live a happy life because of the anxiety. So, there’s the money vigilance, workaholism, things like that. So, what’s the balance between being financially responsible, but not being obsessed with money?
Dr. McCoy: It’s so hard. You know, I just finished a great book by Rath and a partner called Wellbeing, and it talks about the five pillars of wellbeing. And they have a whole chapter on the research around financial wellbeing, what makes us well around money. And really what the research shows is that, if we think too much about money then we tend to be less happy. [laughs] That we tend not to get as much joy from money. And I think you’ve probably heard this cite before that once you make $75,000, happiness doesn’t tend to increase anymore with increases and salaries.
And so, what we do know from the research is that using money for experiences, using money for charitable giving, those two ways are the ways to really be happy. And so, when you’re creating your spending plan, when you’re deciding on where your money is going, making sure that you allot some to giving and allot some to making sure you have the right experiences for your family is going to be essential, especially in COVID times when we can’t do as much fun stuff as we used to. [laughs]
Brokamp: Right. And that study you referenced there, that once you earn $75,000, earning more money does lead a little bit more to happiness, but it’s just diminishing returns. And that came out in 2010, so I recently adjusted it for inflation, so it’s closer to, like, $85,000 now. But, of course, it depends on where you live, right? I mean, I live in the Washington DC area, and it’s a lot different than if you live in — are you in Georgia or in Kansas? I can’t remember …
Dr. McCoy: I’m in Kansas now. [laughs]
Brokamp: You’re in Kansas now, OK, got it. I want to go back to a couple of the topics you already touched on. All right. So, let’s say you have spouses, different attitudes toward money, maybe someone is money avoiding, someone is money vigilant, how do they work out those differences?
Dr. McCoy: You know, people think that opposites attract, but really research shows, we tend to marry someone very similar to us in political views, in religious views, that we tend not to marry opposite, except for when it comes to money. And for some reason, we do seek out that opposite. And I think what’s important to recognize is that every one of these many scripts that I just talked about are partially true, that hold nuggets of wisdom, that hold nuggets of good things.
And so, it’s important to recognize that you married your partner who was different than you for a reason. That you enjoy some of those aspects of their personality. I think you also have to recognize the underlying meaning of money to them, and talk about that thing. You know, like, when you’re able to use clear language around money it would be better. So, it’s not like you’re really annoyed that they bought a purse, it’s that you’re really annoyed that you don’t feel like you’re in the same team or you’re really annoyed that we’re not working toward our goals together, or you’re really annoyed that there wasn’t a more open conversation.
And so, I think beyond money, it’s like, this isn’t about money, if you want that, I want to know why, I want to know what we can do differently to get that need met. But again, starting with your fear that’s coming up or your thing that is coming up, instead of going straight to your bad guy, it’s getting really powerful to change the way you talk.
Brokamp: An interesting part of financial therapy is looking back at what you learned about money when you were younger, and one of the assignments for the program was to do a genogram, I’ve seen it pronounced different ways, but it’s basically like a family tree. And it was interesting, because it also required me to talk to my parents about their early experiences with money and what formed their attitudes about money. So, tell us a little bit about genogram, how to pronounce it? [laughs] And what —
Dr. McCoy: [laughs] I don’t even know if I pronounce it right. But yeah, genograms you are really like, you said a family tree, but you can map anything on it. So, there were two amazing estate planners, Gallos was their last name, that created this idea of, let’s do money genograms, let’s talk about where these money biases came from, let’s talk about the big money moments that managed to shape our family’s way of interacting with money. And it could be really powerful.
I did a study recently, and even though my sample might have been skewed, 90% of the people who responded to my survey have not talked to a single soul about money in 12 months. It blows my mind that they — it’s not that they weren’t talking to financial professionals, they weren’t talking to their partners, they weren’t talking to their parents, or even to their kids about money, which is so sad. And so, I think the genogram is both an assessment tool, where you can see, eek! Maybe this is not great; but it’s also this wonderful tool of intervening, of letting families talk about money differently, to get insights on why your partner acts the way they do.
And it gives more context. You know, there’s a funny cognitive bias we all have; it’s called actor-observer bias, that when somebody does something bad, we automatically apply it to their personality, right? Like, they’re tailgating because they are a jerk. [laughs] But when we […] something, we understand the environmental stimuli, the catalyst. You know, we’re tailgating not because we’re mean, but because we’re late for that appointment or blah-blah-blah. And we do the same thing with our partners, when they do something we’re not happy with, we attribute it to their personality without seeing all the catalysts that caused the behavior. So, I think genograms, kind of, give you that catalyst insight.
Brokamp: I think it is helpful too to know your spouse’s or your partner’s family history, because like you said earlier, it helps you frame the differences in a different way. They’re not being selfish, they’re not being controlling, they’re acting out because of something that happened previously in their life that has made them feel this way. And it certainly is the case of my marriage, my wife had some significant financial insecurity growing up, so it definitely affects the way she reacts to money, whereas I was OK, I had a perfectly fine middle class life until high school, when my dad’s business went under, and then things changed drastically. So, knowing our experiences really has informed a lot of the way we talk about money.
Interestingly, when you talk about marriages and money or just couples and money, another term I’ve learned over the last few years is financial infidelity. And CreditCards.com does an annual financial infidelity poll and the recent one found that 44% of respondents are hiding a checking, savings or credit card account or are hoarding secret debt from their partner. So, tell us a little bit about financially infidelity. And by the way, some of these surveys find that a significant portion of people find financial infidelity worse than physical infidelity; which I think is kind of remarkable. So, anyways, tell us a little bit about financial infidelity.
Dr. McCoy: That was fascinating about financial infidelities, you gave those stats which are very specific, but when you look at all the research on financial infidelity, the stats range dramatically. They go from like, you said 40, I seen up to, like, 80 if you asked for, have you ever lied by omission about a purchase, [laughs] have you ever rounded that, but all those times you had to think back here, like, I might have done that once. So, it’s very common in the low-grade version of it.
But like you said, it’s very hurtful and painful. And when I look at financial infidelity, what I often tell clients is that part of the problem is financial infidelity, part of the problem is someone having financial shame and hiding whatever behaviors that they don’t want their partner to know. But part of financial infidelity is also the person’s inability to be assertive about their wishes and needs. And the problem with that, when you’re not able to say, I want these purchases, they’re important to me, and you can’t say that in that aspect, you’re likely are not going to be saying in a lot of parts of your life, and that can have negative impact for your relationship, because your partner cannot meet your needs if you’re not saying them clearly.
So, we have financial infidelity that is high-grade, where you’re really hiding debt and hiding substantial purchases. What’s interesting about that is it’s often associated with marital infidelity. There are some researchers in New Orleans who have found that financial infidelity and marital infidelity get tied together. Obviously, you have to make purchases for that relationship that are going unacknowledged. Financial infidelity is also really associated with gambling addiction and any kind of addiction. You can almost see it as just a manifestation of the cost of addiction.
And then, again, the lower-grade financial infidelity is really what I’m interested in, is these secrets that we keep because we either feel ashamed and we need to resolve our own shame or we don’t feel comfortable sharing our wants and our needs with our partner.
Brokamp: Let’s move on to kids, and you mentioned this already, touched on it a little bit. I’m sure many people who are listening are parents and they want to help their kids get a good start in life, but not so much that their kids don’t learn to thrive on their own. So, some of the terms in financial therapy that deal with this are financial enabling, financial dependence, and even financial enmeshment. So, how do parents strike the right balance when it comes to teaching kids about money, talking a little bit about the finances — the family finances — and helping their kids financially without, sort of, undercutting their ability to be on their own.
Dr. McCoy: Pride and conversations are so key, there’s a wonderful theory called the family financial socialization theory, that shows that we teach our kids about money not just in our overt lessons where we’re like, I’m going to teach you about a checking account, we do it on a daily basis, because they’re observing our behaviors. And so, one of the best ways to get better about teaching your kids how to handle money is to make sure you’re fully healthy with your money, and then being overt in the little moments. Like, I’m going to go sign this check for the restaurant, let me tell you why we tip in, what it means, what I’m adding up, how I calculate it, why it’s important, what your values are around that. Every single little purchase like that can be made a learning moment. Like, same thing with my daughter, gets birthday money and goes to Target, then we talk about taxes, we talk about how to add it to the price of things, how much will she use it, things like that. So, in the small days, I think the more we talk about money, the healthier we’ll all be.
Now, moving into the more dramatic things that we were talking about earlier, start at supporting our children more than just in teaching lectures or giving them experiential exercises, there is the risk of enabling an enmeshment. So, this is the idea that you’re overly supporting your children or giving them too much money. And this can be such a loving act, like, you want to love your children, maybe you feel guilty about something that happened earlier in their life, maybe you don’t really feel comfortable showing other ways of love, but the problem with enabling is that you are signaling, you don’t trust them to be able to do it on their own, you’re signaling that you don’t see them as fully adults.
And so, I think recognizing that so many times it comes from love, but that it undermines what you’re trying to hope for them is really important. And there are some parts enabling power and control, but in my practice, I’ve seen mostly this wanting to love and not knowing a different way.
Brokamp: A lot of financial therapy, I assume, basically comes down to changing behaviors, right? People are going to financial therapists because some sort of behavior is not going well. And even people listening on this call might be feeling good about their finances, there might be some other behavior they want to change, they want to exercise more, eat better, procrastinate less. And those of us who all tried diets in January 1st resolutions know that it’s very hard to change behavior. So, are there any, sort of, fundamental principles to improving your habits and changing your behaviors that apply to just about anything that people want to do?
Dr. McCoy: There’s a great theorist team called Prochaska and DiClemente, who studies stages of change and how we don’t go from no change to change, we go through this very long process of pre-contemplating, do I really want to make this change, is this change important to me, figuring out if it’s even something you really care about. And we go through the whole, like, uh, how am I going to make the change? What do I need to do to do it right? Where do we even find a good gym that’s open and COVID-safe and blah-blah-blah?
And so, we go through changes in stages and each one of those stages has a different goal. Sometimes we need motivation to discover it’s going to be better when we make that change, because change is scary. Sometimes living with bad behavior is easier than making a change, because we don’t know what life would look like. So, sometimes we have to just work on the emotional aspects of change, and then other times we have to make the actual game-planning of like, the strip, you know, the exterior, like, what do I need to do to accomplish this change. And it’s important to recognize that both aspects are really important.
I finished BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits recently. Such a fan of that idea of making those little steps. And I do think those little steps have a ripple effect.
Brokamp: So, people listening might be thinking, OK, I’ve got my act together, but listening to these various issues, I can think of family members or friends who are struggling with some sort of, shall we say, suboptimal financial behaviors. What’s the best way to help people who are not doing maybe as well as they could be with their finances?
Dr. McCoy: One of the first steps is really speaking to understand. Like, you have to realize whatever behavior that looks inappropriate by that person, makes sense to them for some reason, it is functioning for them, it’s serving a purpose. I was thinking about, when I was younger I smoked a little bit, which is terrible, but what I realized is that smoking served a purpose, because it would make me go outside, it made me sit down, it made me breathe deeply, it made me stop. And so, the thinking, something that’s so bad, served a purpose.
So, when you look at a family member or a friend, believing yourself doing something that like, just, you know, but why are you doing that? Think about the purpose that it serves and try to understand that before you make any changes, because you might need to find a totally weird intervention or it might not be time to change, and maybe some other things need to change before they can do it.
I think another suggestion is recommending the book Mind Over Money by Brad Klontz and Ted Klontz. It’s a very easy way to understand the basics of financial therapy, the basic attitude, beliefs, and so on that may be impacting your worth for money. And so, that would be my first two steps, and then the third step would be, maybe recommending a financial therapist. There was a great study done by UGA recently that found that, especially men who tend to have a higher resistance to the word “therapy,” were much more comfortable going to a financial therapist than a mental health professional, even though half of the financial therapists are mental health professionals, that word made it easier for men to be open to the process and easier for people to make […] to it.
And you can find a therapist locator on the Financial Therapy Association’s page.
Brokamp: And that was my next question here, we’re coming up here in the last few minutes. So, how does someone find a financial therapist? You just said you can go to the website of the Financial Therapy Association, lookup by name or by state. It is a new profession, so there are many states that don’t have any financial therapists yet. So, what is the deal these days with working with someone in another state and, sort of, basically understanding the difference between, are you going to get financial advice or are you going to get, sort of, more traditional mental health counseling?
Dr. McCoy: Yeah. I like the second question. The way to differentiate the financial therapists that are going to be heavier on the financial training spectrum versus, you know, the family therapy, mental health side of things, is to really look at their secondary designations, right, are they CFP or LMFT; [Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists] you kind of know where they’re going to fall on the spectrum. So, LMFT stands for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists; they could also be LPC, which are Licensed Professional Counsellors, or LCFW, which are Licensed Clinical Social Workers, we’re all really, really close. There’s like small nuanced differences, but they’re pretty much all in the same boat. Or they could have the CFP, or AFP [Associate Financial Planner] marks to be more on the financial side.
And then, usually mental health professionals do not look out of the states that they are licensed in, meaning that the client has to physically be present in the state that they are zooming in from. But luckily, with COVID, all the states have promised each other reciprocity. So, a lot of the mental health professionals are being able to work across state lines. So, if you want someone on that spectrum, they probably can see you via Zoom anyway.
Brokamp: We did receive a couple of questions, we’re coming up on the end of our session here, but I’ll ask them, maybe you have a quick response. One was, “At what age would you recommend talking to children about finances should one start? Is there an age where kids are too young?”
Dr. McCoy: Well, I think that just making money fun and not scary and not secretive can happen any day. You know, my daughter the other day asked me, at five, how much money do I have? And I was like, what does that question even mean? And my initial reaction was like, shh! Don’t talk about that, but then we had such a nice conversation about savings, charitable giving and spending behavior. So, at every age, I think it would be appropriate to make it something, like, not scary, not shameful to talk about.
Brokamp: All right. So, I’m not sure I understand this, but maybe you will. So, the question is, “I’m ready to spend, while my wife is more frugal. We agreed she will be the frugality master pushing against us spending, what do you think about that?”
Dr. McCoy: [laughs] So, I think that I believe couples have their own sense, so maybe do what works. So, it’s working, keep on going. I think that I would love for you both to be engaged in the financial goals and both of you guys being like, yeah, I do care so much about our goals of A., B., and C., that I want to be the frugality master too. And that might mean that you guys need more short-term goals. That maybe your financial goals are too far ahead and they’re not focused on what you care about. And so, maybe adding some financial goals that are more short-term, like, I don’t know, a fun vacation in two years or something like that, to make it more fun for you to save as well.
Brokamp: So, the final question; today we’re asking each guest for one or two tips on how to handle the upcoming election and uncertainty. So, do you have any suggestions, maybe any tips for interacting with friends and relatives with different viewpoints?
Dr. McCoy: Yeah. You know, the biggest tip I have with interacting with family and friends with different viewpoints is really, again, seeking to understand. I think right now, we’re all very, kind of, cemented in our views, and so it goes straight to argument instead of, I want to know more about what you care about, what you value and what you think the representative you’re electing will serve, because I want to know what you’re worried about. Because I think the reason we’re getting so verbal is that all of our shared anxiety is going up. And so, recognizing they are voting for that person, because they’re scared of something. What are they scared of? And focusing on that rather than anything you disagree with can be a good advice.
Brokamp: Well, thank you, Dr. McCoy, this was great to have you on the show, and I certainly hope to see you again at some future conference when we have conferences again.
Dr. McCoy: Thanks for having me, have a good one.
Southwick: Well, that’s the show. It’s edited electorally by Rick Engdahl. Our email is [email protected] For Robert Brokamp, I’m Alison Southwick, stay Foolish everybody. And don’t forget to vote.