Wealthy vs Financial Fit. Here’s the Difference and Why It Matters

People can be wealthy without being financially fit, meaning they can have a lot of assets or money tied up in assets, but those assets aren’t “liquid.” Let me explain. Say you have a house that has escalated in value in the real estate market. You may have this large asset, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re financially comfortable from an income standpoint. You aren’t able to tap into that “wealth” to pay for your day-to-day expenses.

Considering Risk
The overall goal when I sit down with someone, or perhaps a couple, is to determine their wants and needs, and then give them a plan that helps them grow their assets, while achieving their income goals.

But one thing many people fail to look at is the risk during this growth period. Let’s say you’re married, and again your major asset is your home, perhaps even with a large mortgage. What if something were to happen to either one of you? Would you still be able to pay the mortgage and retain the house? Or would you need to sell your largest asset just to pay day-to-day living expenses?

That’s where life insurance comes in as a foundational piece to financial fitness. It addresses the issue of someone dying too soon—that’s a risk factor you don’t want to leave chance. And the truth is, it’s an affordable solution for almost everyone. A healthy 30-year-old can get a 20-year $250,000 level term life insurance policy for about $13 a month. Most of us can afford to find that kind of money in our budget.

What Do Romantic Partners Want?
Life Happens did the survey, “What Do Romantic Partners Want?” and we discovered some great news for most of us—people prefer a partner who is financially fit (64%) over someone who is wealthy (16%). And we explored a whole host of factors, from looks to money to relationships. And I think it’s only natural that when people are dating, all the factors that we explored in the survey come into play.

It’s when things become serious and you’re looking to settle down that you have to start asking some of the tougher questions, questions that may make you feel uncomfortable. For example, does the other person have a lot of debt or other financial obligations?

Remember, if you marry and sign on the dotted line, you become responsible for each other’s debt. I’ve seen divorces happen where one partner was racking up a huge amount of credit card debt without the other one knowing, and then in the divorce proceedings the other partner finds out that they are responsible for half that debt.

In the end, it comes down to being financially aware, asking the appropriate questions, even if they are uncomfortable ones. You need to go into a long-term relationship with your eyes and ears wide open.

Here's when it makes sense to ask some tougher financial questions. Click To Tweet Wealthy v. financially fit. What's the difference and why it matters. Click To Tweet

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by Marvin H. Feldman

Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, is president of the Feldman Financial Group in Palm Harbor, Fla., and president and CEO of Life Happens. He is a 41-year Million Dollar Round Table member and was the 2002 president. He is a 33-year member of the MDRT Top of the Table and a past Top of the Table chairman. He also is the recipient of the 2011 John Newton Russell award, the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the insurance industry.

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