How to Navigate Different Risk Tolerances Between Spouses

By Heather Hoffman, Marketing and Communications Specialist



Everyone has a different risk tolerance they’re comfortable with when it comes to investing. Yours likely doesn’t exactly match your partner’s. What do you do when your investment views don’t align? Here are 6 steps you can take.



1. Determine each person’s risk tolerance.

Risk tolerance refers to the level of risk an investor is willing to take. You may not fully understand what you’re comfortable with until you’re in the situation. Loss aversion often plays a large role in risk tolerance. Some studies have shown that the pain of losing is 2.5 times more powerful than the joy of gaining. It is important to truly consider your reactions to different scenarios and determine your risk tolerance from there. If you try to guess, this could cause more dissonance between you and your partner down the line.


2. Define common goals.

Identifying goals is a key point in any budget. By highlighting your shared goals, you can help set up a plan on how to reach them. Goals should be specific and include a timeline. This should include any goal that affects the both of you, such as retirement age, vacationing, homeownership, funding children’s education, etc. Not only can defining your goals show a clear path to work towards, it can also remind you that you are a team. Your idea of the way to get there may be different, but your end goals are still the same.


3. Maintain open and honest communication.

Finances affect both people in a relationship, so it’s important to have honest conversations about what you’re both comfortable with. Selecting asset allocations should be the product of both partners’ inputs. Sometimes, giving the “why” behind your preferred strategy can be helpful in understanding each other. Past experience, educational articles, and previous professional advice can all give justification.


4. Consider separate accounts with different strategies.

Smaller, separate accounts can help give each person the power to invest how they want. This is not a complete solution, as you likely share most expenses and require input from both partners for the majority of financial decisions. But if you have separate accounts worked into your budget, having full control on the investment strategy for your account can help to fulfill your preferred investing style, without compromise. You can experiment with the amount you keep in the accounts, what you designate the funds for, and how you plan to work the gains/ losses into your long-term plan.


5. Compromise on asset allocation.

Compromising is important in every part of a relationship, and finances are no exception. Compromising could look like one person preferring high risk, one preferring low risk, and choosing moderate risk. It could also be choosing higher risk investments now, then moving to lower risk in 10-20 years. Having different risk tolerances can be a good thing when it comes to portfolio diversification. Choosing different ways to invest can help lessen the volatility that comes with investing. By not “putting all of your eggs in one basket,” it can help to protect against market swings.


6. Work with a financial advisor.

If any of the previous points sounded difficult to do on your own, remember that you don’t have to. Financial advisors can help ensure both you and your partner are heard and understand where your money is going. They can help define, create, and implement a plan for your goals. If you’re not sure where you stand with risk tolerance, they can help you better understand what you’re comfortable with. Advisors can help choose your investment allocation and give performance reviews on your accounts. Overall, they can keep you educated on your options, informed of any changes, and help you remain confident in your financial future.



Having a different risk tolerance than your partner is normal and navigable. These steps can help keep you working as a team to reach your goals. If you want a financial advisor’s assistance, visit to get in touch with one!


The opinions voiced are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.