Time Versus Money: A Wealth Management Challenge

Jeff Bernier |

By: Jeff Bernier, CFP®, ChFC, CFS

The Challenge

The number of dual-income households has been steadily increasing over the past few decades, according to a 2020 study by Sage Journals. Given a household’s desire to remain above a minimum threshold standard of living, the rise in the number of dual-earner households is inevitable largely due to inflationary pressures such as rising housing prices and childcare costs coupled with relatively flat wage trends.1

Dr. Richard A. Swenson, a physician-researcher in the area of health and culture, describes “margin” as the space between our load and our limits and is related to our reserves and resilience. It is a buffer, a leeway, a gap; the place we go to heal, to relate, to reflect, to recharge our batteries, to focus on the things that matter most.2

“Marginless is the disease of the new millennium; margin is its cure.”

 –Dr. Richard A. Swenson, Author of Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives

It is no wonder many dual income families struggle with a lack of margin. Below are just a few examples of the many factors and commitments competing for these families’ time:

  • Competition at work to perform (often with colleagues who may not have family commitments)
  • Careers that demand 24x7 availability due to email and instant messaging
  • “Anytime” access to meetings via Zoom, etc.
  • Commuting to work and getting kids to school
  • Academic pressures on children
  • Extracurricular activities requiring kids (and parents) to devote significant time to practicing and often year-round competitions. Travel baseball, soccer, swimming as examples.
  • Saving enough for college
  • Saving enough for retirement
  • Having funds for dinner out, vacation, or home improvements
  • Helping siblings or parents who need financial, physical, or emotional support
  • Feeling lost when deciding on complex employer benefits such as insurance, retirement plants, health savings accounts, stock options, etc.
  • With incomes rising as careers advance, the need for more complex tax planning.
  • Not having time to devote to investment planning and research in volatile markets
  • Digesting the often conflicting “advice” from media sources

You get the idea. Balancing your finances for the highest quality of life both now and in the future can feel overwhelming. There just does not seem to be enough “margin.” (Check out the Kenny Chesney song lyrics at the end of the article.)

So, how can a wealth management firm help you?

At TandemGrowth, we are in the “margin” business. We guide our clients to creatively allocate their resources, time, and energy to accomplish what matters most to them. Through our various financial planning tools and discussions, we can show you how your current financial decisions will likely affect your lifestyle in the long-term. Together, we will create a customized financial map seeking to optimize your resources and achieve your goals. With a plan in place and caring financial advisors, our hope is you can better navigate the “now” and gain clarity and confidence in the future.

What TandemGrowth hopes to do:

  • Help you take a breath, step back and dream (even though you think you don’t have the time!)
  • Deep discovery to uncover “what matters most”
  • Uncover your most pressing dangers and fears
  • Review present strengths – both financial and non-financial resources and celebrate your wins to date.
  • Translate your dreams to specific goals and values that you’d like to live
  • Build a strategic financial plan that addresses your dangers, leverages your strengths, and balances funding goals for the future with enjoying the now! (Your kids will enjoy the Disney Cruise more at 10 than 30!)
  • Leverage your employer benefits and align choices with goals and values.
  • Address risk management gaps and cost-efficient ways to close any gaps
  • Help you establish adequate “rainy day” emergency funds
  • Address and evaluate liabilities
  • Determine the most effective strategies to fund financial independence (401k, Roth IRAs, taxable accounts, etc.)
  • Help you develop a tax plan in conjunction with your CPA to free up money to save, spend, or give.
  • Develop a plan to be a good steward to causes that mean something to you, if desired
  • Evaluate costs and tradeoffs between various education choices for children (private, public, special needs, etc.)
  • Address efficient funding of higher education costs
  • Ensure that all investment accounts are allocated in line with your need, ability, and comfort with various risks
  • Make sure your plan accounts for children being provided for and taken care of in a way that is consistent with your values in the event of death (estate planning)

By partnering with a wealth management firm that truly takes the time to “get you”, we hope to offer you peace of mind knowing we are just a phone call away when questions or challenges arise or when goals change. You deserve to have confidence in a plan that can be monitored to determine when adjustment should be made. You deserve to feel reassured knowing your partner collaborates with other professionals who can offer their expertise to your plan. You deserve to feel freedom to enjoy things that truly matter and not guilt for spending the resources—the tradeoff is clear and it’s in your plan. You deserve to have a sense of accomplishment as you make progress to your goals and know that you are being responsible with the resources in your care. Most importantly, you deserve to have time! We hope our partnership affords you more time to focus on family, work, or communities since you’ve delegated some aspects of the day-to-day management of your financial plan to a partner.

In case you missed it, check out our recent podcast episode What Can a Financial Do For You? with Wealth Advisor Mona Fahmy, MBA, CFS, AIF®.

Financial demands can seem to come from every direction at this stage of life, and planning for long-term goals may seem like too much to ask. You may be comfortably supporting your lifestyle, but are you saving enough to keep it in the future? Our goal is for you to be better able to navigate and have clarity and confidence in the future. Schedule your complimentary, no obligation call with a TandemGrowth Advisor today!


“She hit the door 6:55 sack full of groceries split down the side.
Can goods scattered all the way to the curb.
Look on her face saying don't say a word.
So, it's me and her and a can of beans sitting there on the front porch swing.
Western sky all turning red.
Head on my shoulder she sighed and said:

Been gopherin', chaufferin', company chairmen.
Coffee maker, copy repairman.
Anymore there ain't nothin' I swear man that I don't do.
Been juggling, struggling, closing big deals.
Dancing backwards in high heels.
Just when it feels like I can't make it through.
She said it sure is nice to just be the woman with you

She said the girl I was with the business degree probably wouldn't recognize me.
I was gonna run the bank.
I was gonna run the map.
Now all I want to run is a bubble bath.
Back then you know I had this plan.
Before all of this reality set in.
Here comes life boy ready or not.
Hey I wanted it all and that's what I got.”

--The Woman with You, Kenny Chesney (song written by David Frasier and Craig Wiseman)



[1] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0886368719900032

2 http://www.richardswenson.com/margin


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