Financial Advisors vs Financial Therapists

Nov 18, 2021 | Sara Khaki

When a couple works with a financial advisor to create a spending plan and then one spouse walks out on the plan and “financially” cheats on their spouse, it is advisable to work with certified financial therapists. There’s a big difference between financial planning and financial therapy, and you may need to decide which one you really need. Do you need somebody to manage stocks and bonds, real estate, and taxes, or do you need someone to counsel you and talk out your money problems? Those are separate and distinct issues.

If your spouse or partner is taking a lot of money out of an ATM machine, whether for drugs, gambling, prostitution, or something else, there is something there that you probably aren’t going to want to hear. You may or may not want to work that out, but you have to be able to have that conversation. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for two spouses who are fighting over budget items to sit down and agree on financial issues, often necessitating a financial therapist.

Can a Financial Advisor Work with both Spouses if they Decide to Divorce?

Financial advisors can never represent two of the same clients with one person. If you work with a financial firm, however, different advisors can represent the two different clients. Once a financial advisor finds out that their clients are getting divorced, they can’t make any changes to someone’s finances just because their spouse or partner says to do it. They would need the spouse’s signature because the parties might be getting divorced.

Financial advisors to divorcing couples do their best to advocate and give their clients advice, but they typically recommend getting a divorce attorney involved. Financial advisors are not lawyers and can’t give legal advice. They can give you ideas about what you should be thinking about financially, but they can never maintain both of you as clients.

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