Who is it that you take financial decisions for?

Who do you (as a member of this community) make financial decisions for?

I’m interested in the motivations that we have as financial decision makers. We talk about financial decisions such as spending, saving, investing for the future, gambling on crypto, etc. But when we actually take these decisions, whose benefit (or risk) are we thinking of?

Many articles & posts about financial education are written for specific decisions … investing FOR YOURSELF, saving FOR CHILDREN, etc. But then most of our decisions are rarely as neat as that, and even if we’re tempted to make certain decisions, we need to take into account the impact on our partners, our families and others.

Or maybe you don’t?

It occurs to me that talking about “risk preferences” (for example) will be different if the risk is something that only affects “my money”, as opposed to those choices I make affecting “the money we are saving for family projects”, such as fixing the roof, or replacing the kitchen.

When taking long term financial decisions, I’m mainly deciding for …
  • myself (my partner or others make their own choices)
  • me and my partner (I take most decisions)
  • me and my partner (they take most of the decisions)
  • me and my partner (we take decisions jointly)
  • my family (partner and dependents, including kids)

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I suspect there may be a fair number who are carers and have to manage a dependent’s/family member’s finances with a duty of care in their interest. That can be doubly tricky when also closely connected to your own finances, e.g. because living in one household

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yes, it is a good point, I tried to word that more generally as ‘dependents’ can cover quite a few cases and not just having kids.

As I was writing the question it occurred to me that this is not only complex, but really affects the content we discuss here.

While it makes sense for lots of advice to relate to individuals and their own preferences and choices, when it comes to making an actual decision there could be a lot of other factors other than personal preference, knowledge or inclination.

I imagine it would be particularly relevant when you and your partner have very different risk tolerances, but you’re dealing with joint funds. Do you compromise, and split the difference on risk? Or split the fund (and therefore start with smaller amounts)?

Or, if one of you has a low tolerance for risk, is it just impossible (or unfair?) to go beyond that and so it is actually the lowest risk level that decides?

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What if someone is single and doesn’t have dependants? :wink:


That’s the ‘myself’ choice… “partner or others” is optional :wink: