Tony Robbins began his campaign to spread personal finance knowledge a few years ago, when he saw that after the Great Recession, people distrusted banks and the stock market and were largely ignorant of how their money works for them.
And as he mentioned in a recent Facebook Live Q&A at Business Insider’s New York offices, being educated about your own finances isn’t enough if you’re in a relationship.
In the Q&A, Robbins discussed principles from his new book “Unshakeable,” a much slimmer version of his 2014 book “Money: Master the Game,” with additional insights from Peter Mallouk, who was rated the No. 1 wealth adviser in the US by Barron’s three times, and who brought Robbins into his firm Creative Planning in 2016.
A viewer asked Robbins how she could begin a dialogue with her partner about each other’s finance. She noted it was difficult because her partner wasn’t forthcoming.
Robbins noted that a primary reason why couples feel uncomfortable talking about their money with each other is that one or both sides is fearful of judgment that they won’t trust.
“If you try to tell your partner things and your partner loves you but doesn’t think this is your expertise, and for most people it’s not their expertise,” then you’re not going to make much progress, Robbins said. “You’re much better off to educate yourself and then share your learnings. Don’t say, ‘Let’s do this.’ Just say, ‘Gosh, look at this. I just learned this thing.'”
To begin, he’s suggesting, it’s smarter to start learning about money yourself, and then approach your partner with new facts and techniques you’ve learned in order to spark a conversation rather than issue a lecture.
If that’s not working, and there’s still a level of distrust — it doesn’t necessarily have to be ill-intentioned or patronizing — it can be assuaged by bringing in a mediator who presents information to you both. That way, fear on both sides begins to disappear.
It’s why, Robbins noted, that at Creative Planning, all married clients must bring their spouses to their first meeting with their adviser, to discuss separate and mutual goals.
Robbins told the viewers that having a mediator for this potentially awkward conversation, whether through third-party knowledge or an actual adviser, is normal even for sophisticated investors. He likened it to the way a talented surgeon wouldn’t perform surgery on himself.
“So having an outsider guide you through that is extremely helpful,” Robbins said.
You can watch the full Facebook Live Q&A with Robbins below.