Who’s On Your Board of Directors?
By Matt Bell
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22
My friend, Brad, calls it their annual “Dixie Fraley talk.” Once a year, he and his wife, Nancy, meet with their personal board of directors, which includes their CPA, attorney, and financial planner. Brad and Nancy reveal their balance sheet, budget, giving plans for the year, along with plans to build their marriage and encourage their adult children. Then they open it up for comments and suggestions.
Brad got the idea after hearing a talk given by Dixie Fraley, widow of Robert Fraley, a sports agent who died in the same plane crash that took the life of professional golfer Payne Stewart. In the talk, Dixie described how Robert had organized annual meetings with trusted advisors, and how those meetings had left her well prepared to manage her financial affairs after Robert’s death.
Brad candidly acknowledges that prior to setting up their own board of directors, he had been leaving Nancy out of important financial decisions, and in some cases moving ahead with decisions she did not agree with. Not surprisingly, finances had become a point of tension in their marriage. By submitting to the counsel of others, Nancy gained a voice in their financial affairs. “The meetings have made us more of a team,” Brad said. “Really, they’ve been a marriage saver.”
Members of Brad and Nancy’s board have challenged them on everything from the number of hours brad works to how much money they keep in reserve. Most importantly from Brad’s perspective, if anything happens to him, Nancy is on a first-name basis with a team of trusted advisors.
In Dixie Fraley’s talk, she mentioned that one million Americans lose their spouses each year, and over 80 percent of women will become widows. Financially, how prepared would your spouse be if something happened to you? Does anyone else know your financial details, goals, and commitments? If not, maybe it’s time to put together your own personal board of directors.
~Matt Bell is the author of three personal finance books published by NavPress, including his latest: “Money & Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples.” Matt leads workshops throughout the country and blogs at www.MattAboutMoney.com.
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