The Power of Money with Kyle George

The power of money is dependent on how we think and feel about it. Kyle George talks about how to get on the same page with your partner!

May 17, 2024 | Blogs, Podcast

About the Episode

We focused on the power of money and how it’s dependent on how we think and feel about it, how to get on the same page with your significant other, a helpful framework for goal setting and decisions making, and how to get started, with Kyle George, CFP, and Wealth Advisor with Johnson Financial Group.       

Listen to hear a difference-making tip on how often you should be checking in on your finances!

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The Aligned Money Show is the podcast for Money Alignment Academy, copyright 2024.

George Grombacher

George Grombacher


Kyle George

Kyle George


Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
I’ll get us started. Give me two truths and a lie, please.

Kyle George 0:07
Two Truths and a Lie. Okay. Well, I’m from Illinois. So Chicago Bears fan. Say I regularly play piano. And I’ve read CS Lewis.

george grombacher 0:23
Oh, my goodness. You are a Bears fan. You play the piano and you’ve read CS Lewis. Those are all very good. Kyle. I’m gonna guess that you’ve never read CS Lewis.

Kyle George 0:37
Oh, that was a truth. Ah,

george grombacher 0:40
you got me. You got me? Oh, man, which, which one is the lie?

Kyle George 0:47
Well, I’m actually a longtime Packers fan. Even though I’m from Illinois. Originally, I grew up about five minutes south of the border and about, you know, 51% of any fans, you know, in a bar or something are Bears fans. 48% are Packers fans. And then there’s like one guy in the corner who’s like a Lions fan or a Vikings fan. So that’s pretty typical. Yeah,

george grombacher 1:10
but that is how that goes. So you are a piano player. And do you love CS Lewis? Tell me little bit about that.

Kyle George 1:17
Yeah, I do. I’m taking piano classes. I wouldn’t say that. I’m a piano player. But I do regularly play piano. So you know, I can play the entertainer, maybe a very rusty rustic entertainer. And yeah, I’ve read CS Lewis for a long time. One of my majors in college was philosophy. And I’m, you know, wine, which wardro People love those books. And they’re wonderful books. But I’ve also really enjoyed reading some of his other writings. He’s a beautiful writer, and just highly recommend reading it for folks who are interested in learning a little bit more about life and morality and things of that nature, like Tomic conversation.

george grombacher 1:59
He’s, uh, I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s underrated. But his scope of work is, is really incredible. Absolutely. And so piano, Kyle, that’s always something I point to that I’ve got a running list of stuff that I really liked to be able to do. But there’s no way I’ll ever actually put in the time to do it and learn the piano was on there. So how did you? What, what, what motivated you to actually do it?

Kyle George 2:24
Well, I have the benefit of having been band geek when I was growing up. And so I do know how to read music. I wouldn’t say I could read music Well today, but I did in school through college. And then, you know, something I wanted to return back to I wanted to make something beautiful, or at least occasionally beautiful. And so, you know, that was that was kind of the impetus just to have a creative outlet. And my goal now is to have a couple of very tepidly performed Christmas songs ready to go for our little family gathering that we have every year.

george grombacher 3:04
I think that is outstanding. I love everything about that. Perfect. Well, what’s what’s top of mind for you right now, Kyle?

Kyle George 3:12
Yeah, what’s top of mind for me is, you know, as a financial planner, and also, as a more recently married financial planner, I, we actually just celebrated my wife and I, we celebrated our three year anniversary yesterday and said, I’m lame. But we’ve been thank you so much. And one of the key considerations or factors that a financial planner helps clients with is this huge life event retirement, right. And there’s so many things bound up in it. And of course, there, you know, I think it’s a well, it’s well treaded terrain that, you know, advisors may not spend enough time talking with clients about softer skill sets, or what we’re helping them to paint a vision, right? You know, we may, and I’m guilty of this too, spending a lot of time talking about projections and forecasts and returns it, you know, rates and inflation and things of this nature. But I’ve tried to orient myself more as I become a more experienced advisor, to try to paint that picture. And really, I’m a curious person naturally, and I want to bring that to life for people and I’m excited about what’s next for them. And at some point over the last year or two, I’ve realized that you know, sometimes when you’re meeting with a couple, you know, there may be kind of moments where they may not have have ironed out what a what that vision is and that’s okay, right. i No one should know, I would not expect anyone to come prepared with all of those answers and to kind of have a perfect ironclad view of what what their next life stage is going to look like but in a lot of cases He says I’ve, I’ve come to realize that it’s so important to not only be comfortable with yourself and what your own vision is, but then just to have those conversations with their spouse to do it well ahead of time, right? To talk about the trajectory of how you’re growing, because ideally, you’d like to try to go both both be a good collaborator today, but then also grow together.

george grombacher 5:29
I think that that is, it’s such an important thing that’s definitely not talked about enough. It’s hard enough, just as an individual to your point, to kind of get a sense of what do I want? Well, I want to have a good day, and I’m gonna eat something, and then I’m probably going to watch TV now. I’m like, What do you want for your future? And then all of a sudden, now we’re married, and now we’re supposed to be able to have that conversation together. It’s not obvious at all to me.

Kyle George 5:50
Right? Absolutely.

george grombacher 5:54
And it’s also, when you think about it, it’s like, oh, yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s obvious that we want to do that. But just because something is obvious that we ought to do, it doesn’t mean that I then know how to do it, or even sort of what’s that first step, because that’s, for lack of a better term, big conversation.

Kyle George 6:12
It’s also just that there are so there’s just so much bound up in this life event, that it’s just, it’s so easy to forget about the various things you may want to be thinking about. And it’s not. It’s not intentional, it’s not. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s a perfectly honest, you know, consideration that you may just not have given enough consideration to, you know, and in some sense, maybe you have created some assumptions in your mind about what this other person that you’re, the person in your life, may may want for themselves and for you. And if you’re not engaged in an ongoing conversation with your spouse, you know, there may be opportunities for miscommunication and a misalignment of expectations. And so a top of mind right now, it’s very interesting, the New York Times actually just had an article about this a write up about this very topic. And they, you know, wonderful, wonderful writer, it was a wonderful article, you know, spend a lot of time talking, of course, less about the financial planning aspect of, of that, of that, and of that event, and much more about, you know, what each couple or each spouse envisioned for themselves and how it was different in how that created some tension.

george grombacher 7:45
It’d be weird if you did, if you wrote down what you want your your retirement to be like, and then your wife wrote it down, and they were exactly the same, that would be just preposterous, it’s, clearly they’re going to be different. And if we don’t address that, then we’re not going to get what we want.

Kyle George 8:02
That’s what we call an open book test, right? You sat down with your spouse, and you’ve said, Hey, what do you what can you put number three here in your priority list of? Yes, a plan is really valuable to me. I typically as a best practice, particularly with younger couples, and I guess when I say younger, I mean, it could run the gamut. But let’s just say, mid 30s, to mid 40s, or something, you know, they’re squarely in the accumulation stage, but they are preparing for retirement, even though it’s not as a perhaps robust of a conversations you might have five to 10 years from retirement. And in so many cases, when I suggested them that they take, like a checklist of priorities and fill it out separately, and then kind of come together, how have different that is, it’s, it’s quite wild.

george grombacher 8:53
And it does come down to that. Right? I spend a lot of time thinking about priorities, because not everything can be the most important thing. So we do need to sort of suss out what are what’s most important, what’s least important or less.

Kyle George 9:09
Absolutely, in your financial unit in so many ways, you’re filing your taxes jointly, you’re living in the same house, you may have shared children, right. shared community involvement, shared friends, right. And in some sense, it’s so easy to just think and again, not in a not in a flippant way, but you’re you may not just have thought to ask that question or or or really try to have those conversations about what’s important to you in this with this huge upheaval and hopefully a positive one, but nonetheless an upheaval. What

george grombacher 9:46
are some of those key variables or questions, items to prioritize? What are some of those things?

Kyle George 9:52
That’s a great question. Really, it’s centered around I think, work Family and self. Work is a is, of course a large one, right? It’s, does a person have a passion for the career? Or don’t they? Or do they have a passion for a whole other career or job? You know, which, you know, if a person is a cyclist, you know, maybe they’d love working like part time at a bike shop, well, maybe the spouse or your particular partner is not on board with that, or they want to really spend time with you, or they thought, hey, we were going to do a lot of travel. So there’s often a mismatch around work, when, and what does that look like? For so many folks, it doesn’t simply mean I’m one day working, and then the next day, I’m not working, although that may be the case. You know, it may mean a whole host of things. So sometimes there are there are pitfalls that folks can just fall into their family is another huge one. So that can be bound up in relocation, for example. So if you want to be closer to let’s say, your kids, you are perhaps fully grown at this juncture in your life, and you’re preparing for retirement, maybe you want to spend time with grandkids, and your kids more, or brothers and sisters, and you know, that maybe you haven’t connected with in some time, your partner may not may find them all delightful. And yet, it may not be their vision for retirement, right. I mean, it’s, you know, it can be nuanced in that way. And then finally, from a self perspective, I think the most successful clients that I found are the folks who have something to retire to rather than something that they’re retiring from. But the two is not where the conversation ends, right? It’s what are those internal passions that you have those pursuits that you’ve been thinking about for some time? And how does that compare to what your spouse wants? Going back to playing piano, one of the I have a keyboard, and it has headphones, and I have a very happy marriage. And, and, and I can envision a world in which somebody wants to play piano and both couples are at home. And it’s like, I don’t want to hear chopsticks for the 12th time poorly. You know, Kyle, please stop. You know, the New York Times article, in fact that it really interesting comment about, you know, living spaces. And for one, one spouse, they felt like their space violated is a very strong word, but was disturbed, let’s say, because their partner was there. And it’s not to say they don’t love their partner, they do love their partner, but their life is now much different. And it’s an adjustment. And have they talked about what that means for each of them?

george grombacher 12:48
Yeah, those are all giant things, for sure. And, I mean, what what, what happens if you don’t think about these things? If you don’t talk about them? Well,

Kyle George 12:58
I think it just adds to the stress level around all the other things that are bound up in this big event. So you know, in many cases, you have enough to contend with trying to determine what your health insurance some of the some of the some of the blocking and tackling that’s associated with retirement, what is my health insurance gonna look like? What is my cash flow going to look like? What’s my tax liability gonna look like? How ought my investments? How should it be allocated? And what’s the risk level, I should, I should have, as a retiree, things of that nature, right. And so then you’re kind of stacking on these other concerns and issues, that just kind of maybe has the potential to exacerbate and make everything just feel a little bit more uncomfortable, you know, and just feel you feel a little less settled. Right. So if you could at least have a conversation with your partner about, you know, what’s important to you in retirement, then then I think you’ve, you’ve taken a tension, and you’ve turned it into turn your you’ve made your partner more of a teammate, right, someone who can be on your side traveling together, and not one way or the other feeling like there’s this tide, or these considerations that are working against you. Which,

george grombacher 14:15
you know, that’s the last thing that I’m sure that that person wanted in the article is, if it’s the wife who was working full time, and then the husband was staying at home, all of a sudden, the wife’s around all the time. They love each other, but it’s just to your point, it’s not a violation. It’s just, this is just a new thing. And it’s, it’s changing habits and routines. And to not address that to not be talking about these things is strikes me as just you’re setting yourself up for unhappiness. Absolutely. Yeah.

Kyle George 14:47
One other aspect that may be worth just noting too, that I actually wrote about in an article a month or two back before this New York Times article I’m not nearly as articulate. But anyhow, important information on the last is just determining what your financial fitness is. And when I say financial fitness, I mean your kind of expertise, and also desire for expertise around financial matters, things like determining your budget, talking about investments, talking about taxes and things of that nature. Often times, one spouse may not want to have anything absolutely at all to do with it. Another partner or another spouse, or you know, may be very invested and want to learn in a lot of cases I’ve seen, or, or another situation is that maybe one person has handled the finances for decades. And now you’re retired. And now the other person wants to have some level of involvement in those finances. And that’s a that’s a new experience. And it’s kind of like, Hey, this is my territory. This is my division of labor, you did this. And I did this. And it worked well, for many years. And now it’s changing. So that’s another consideration to really think about is just to talk about, well, who’s going to kind of take this on and shoulder this burden, it’s going to be both of us, is it going to be one or the other? The person who has done this? Or is it going to be somewhat different going forward?

george grombacher 16:21
Is there a right answer to that?

Kyle George 16:24
No, no, the role the role that I should say, the right answer is what’s best for you is I did not to be glib, but it’s again, the conversation about who’s who’s who, what is your desire, and your appetite for wanting to be involved in those things. And many couples are, you know, perfectly happy having that division of labor go on. And maybe there’s another aspect of their lives that they are more involved in, you know, that the other person would say, Hey, I’m taking a step back from this, because this is, you know, how we’re going to operate going forward. Yeah,

george grombacher 17:04
I think that that makes a lot of sense. What do you think that? Or when do you advocate that people start having these kinds of conversations about retirement?

Kyle George 17:14
I think as soon as possible, the count the trajectory, and the shape of the conversation is going to be much different, right? If you’re a mid 30s, to mid 50s person, you know, there’s kind of the twel treaded, you know, you’re in the accumulation phase, from the time you have a job till let’s say your early to mid 50s, traditionally, and then, you know, you’re really thinking about retirement, and you’re somewhat still in the accumulation stage before retirement, but that free return phase is much different. So I would say, as soon as possible. You know, maybe your primary, your primary concern should be against saving, like we’ve kind of just alluded to, I’ve alluded to, and maybe those conversations are not quite as often. And then particularly, of course, as you get within 10 years, maybe even 15 years, you may want to start having those conversations on a you know, in a more detailed way and, and perhaps more often.

george grombacher 18:20
I love it. Well, Kyle, we’re ready for that difference making tip. What do you have for us?

Kyle George 18:26
By difference making tip? Okay, well, on that point, that’s a very good segue. So in general, this is maybe a good rule of thumb. You know, if you thought to yourself, Man, it’s been a while since I’ve changed my clocks because of daylight savings time, then it probably has been a long enough period of time for you to have a conversation and communicate with your partner about what’s important to you in retirement. I don’t know what to do about those folks in Arizona if they don’t change their class got no, I’m just kidding. Arizona. You do you? Greg, but I you know, George, but I but I would just say, you know, think about having those conversations at least once a year, you know, check in with your partner about a whole host of things. It doesn’t just have to be financial topics it can be it can be all sorts of things.

george grombacher 19:27
I think that that is great stuff that definitely gets come on whether or not we have daylight savings thrust upon us or not Kyle it is a good practice at least once or twice a year at a minimum for goodness sakes to be having these kinds of conversations in the check in because everything you’ve been talking about makes so much sense to me. I love the the framing of work, family and self that gives people a track to run on and I also love the language about having an open book test. We’re not trying to stump anybody here. Let’s let’s get on the same page and have an open and honest conversation about what we want and probably gonna get us a lot closer to actually live in it. So well, Kyle, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you?

Kyle George 20:07
George, thank you so much for having me. You can find me on LinkedIn, just by searching Kyle, George, you can find us on the Johnson Financial Group website. That’s Johnson financial We have a very nice finding advisor, kind of section where you input your zip code if you’re in the state of Wisconsin, and there’s a whole host of very talented folks that I work with, who can help with a whole litany of things including financial planning, banking, and so on. So that’s where you can find us.

george grombacher 20:41
Excellent. If you enjoyed this as much as I did, she’ll tell your appreciation, share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas find him. Kyle George on LinkedIn, certainly linked that in the notes and then go to Johnson financial and check out the GRI resources if you’re happen to be in the state of Wisconsin, click on the Find new advisor button and, but to Kyle’s point, also offer lots of different financial services for whatever that you are needing. Thanks can cough

Kyle George 21:11
thank you so much. Have a great day.

george grombacher 21:12
You as well. And finally friendly reminder, it’s never going to be anybody more interested in your financial success than you are. So act accordingly.



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