Orion’s New Behavioral Finance (BeFi) Study Reveals Half of Couples Consider Dishonesty About Money a Form of Infidelity

Orion’s New Behavioral Finance (BeFi) Study Reveals Half of Couples Consider Dishonesty About Money a Form of Infidelity

Orion Advisor Solutions’ new Couples and Money Survey reveals that half (50%) of survey respondents, including 61% of millennials, consider dishonesty about money a form of infidelity. The survey results also show more than a quarter (27%) say their relationship would be better if their partner would change something about the way they handle money, and one in five (21%) wish they had known more about their partner’s financial attitudes before committing to the relationship. A quarter (25%) of respondents have kept a purchase secret from their partner while nearly one in 10 (9%) have debts they’re keeping secret from their partner.

Survey results clearly show financial friction causes a disconnect between couples. To facilitate more love and harmony, Orion is introducing a new behavioral finance tool called BeFi20 that uses technology and personality assessment to uncover financial bias, fears and needs. The tool arms advisors and their clients with more personal insights and helps position the advisor as a mediator to facilitate better communication between feuding families.

Twenty-eight percent of the surveyed investors have money-related disagreements with their partner at least monthly with 58% claiming they never have disagreements related to money. The data shows disagreements are related to fears about market risk and the economy (35% of disagreements) more often than personal spending philosophies. Nearly three in 10 respondents (29%) disagree about whether to spend for today or save for tomorrow.

“Financial advisors are gradually expanding their horizons as investment managers and are now having an even larger impact on clients’ lives in a role more similar to a life coach,” said Dr. Daniel Crosby, Chief Behavioral Officer at Orion. “A recent Accenture surveyreveals half of the respondents (51%) already view their current advisor as a life coach and over nine in 10 (91%) respondents cited the importance of an advisor who ‘gets’ them as a person.”

Orion’s survey also revealed key generational differences on topics, including money conversations/disagreements, financial stressors, and hidden debts.

  • Millennials (90%) and Gen X (90%) are more likely to have had conversations about money before committing to their relationship than baby boomers (68%).
  • More than half of millennials (53%) and Gen X (55%) say they have weekly conversations about finances with their partner, compared to 38% of baby boomers.
  • Disagreements about money are much more frequent among millennials (21% weekly, 27% monthly) than among Gen X (10% weekly, 26% monthly) and baby boomers (2% weekly, 10% monthly).
  • Millennials are also most likelyto say money is a stressor in their relationship (54%), followed by Gen X (41%), while only 14% of baby boomers identify money as a relationship stressor.
  • Hidden debts and secret purchases are most commonamong millennials, 24% of whom have debts of which their partner is unaware and 43% of whom have kept a purchase secret from their partner.

Introducing BeFi20

Today, Orion is introducing a new leading-edge behavioral finance tool developed by Dr. Crosby. BeFi20 helps advisors strengthen client relationships, differentiate themselves, and grow their firms. The tool aids advisor-client money conversations with both individuals and couples. When working with couples, advisors using BeFi20 can address many of the areas explored in Orion’s Couples and Money survey, leading to better alignment on household money management, increased transparency and understanding with fewer money-related arguments.

The 20-question financial personality assessment can be taken by an individual client or separately by both partners in a relationship. The assessment covers five categories of questions, including communication, worry, purpose, use and need. Topics include what money means to you, how prone you are to worry about money, comfort level asking others for money, willingness to spend some of your savings, how your mood is impacted by the markets, and more. Learn more about BeFi20 here.

Upon completing the assessment, the advisor receives a unique BeFi20 persona for each participant that can be overlaid with the results of a partner, if desired, to clearly show how their money views and attitudes align or don’t align in each category. The tool gives advisors discussion tips to drive conversations with meaningful, actionable insights, including a view into the client’s financial values, preferences and behaviors and how those either converge or diverge with their partner. Visit orion.com/befi20 to learn more about BeFi20 available via Redtail Campaigns.

“Orion’s BeFi20 merges EQ and IQ through a shareable assessment that provides advisors with emotional and attitudinal insights into their clients so they can facilitate more meaningful conversations from day one,” Dr. Crosby added. “It helps advisors cast a wider net for new business and get right to work crafting goals-based investment strategies. In this time of heightened market volatility, advisors need to be in top form and using BeFi20 can engender a deeper level of trust in advisor-client relationships, helping clients feel understood. Trust is paramount – an investor is more likely to take their advisor’s advice when a solid rapport and level of trust exists between client and advisor.”

Orion is hosting a webinar “Deepen Client Conversations with Orion’s New BeFi20 Tool” on Thursday, March 9 at 1 p.m. CT with Dr. Crosby who will be joined by Cade DeNazario Akers, financial planning product manager. Register through this link.


Survey Methodology TRUE Global Intelligence fielded a 7-minute survey from Aug. 22 to Aug. 26, 2022, of 500 U.S. residents with annual household incomes of at least $150K. Of the 500 respondents who completed the survey, 453 respondents who reported being in a relationship completed the questions related to attitudes about relationships and money. Respondents must also have investments in, at a minimum, one of the following areas: stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

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