‘He thinks all financial advisers are ripoffs.’ Our IRA dropped 30% this year, but my husband refuses to go to an adviser. Now I’m considering going behind his back. What’s my move?

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Questions: I retired in January 2022 just before the market started crashing and have seen a 30% loss in value of my IRA portfolio. My husband and I have no formal financial plan because he doesn’t believe in financial advisers. I feel very adrift financially and have tried to educate myself, but am so confused with all the contradicting information out there.

My husband refuses to go to an adviser because he believes they are all ripoffs and are only interested in making money off us. I have explained about fiduciaries but he won’t believe they consider our best interests. I have considered going behind his back, but if he finds out he will be angry and feel betrayed. What can I do to convince him that a financial adviser is a good idea? (Looking for a financial adviser too? This tool can help match you with an adviser who might meet your needs.)

answer: No doubt, it’s difficult to navigate hiring a financial adviser when one spouse wants help and the other doesn’t. Not only does it put the couple in an awkward position, it can put the adviser in an awkward position. And, points out certified financial planner Andrew Bernell of Century Park Wealth Management, it can actually cause “more problems than it solves.”

Pros say there might be a way to get your husband to go to an adviser. Maybe, when your husband says he thinks advisers are ripoffs, it could be a fee-related problem. “He’s saying he doesn’t think financial advice is worth the cost. I’d be willing to bet he’s imagining a relationship where an adviser charges a percentage of assets under management,” says Bernell.

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In this day and age however, there are also advisers who charge hourly fees and advice-only planners who don’t sell products or manage assets. “This should limit some of your husband’s concerns about financial planning,” says certified financial planner Danielle Miura of Spark Financials. (Looking for a financial adviser too? This tool can help match you with an adviser who might meet your needs.)

“If cost is the issue, you might consider engaging an adviser who provides one-time financial plans for a single flat fee. It’s not an ongoing relationship, you would pay a flat fee and implement the recommendations on your own,” says Bernell. Your husband might be willing to try that kind of relationship out — or one in which you pay the adviser hourly. If he doesn’t like the advice, he can simply stop going to the adviser.

You should also point out to your husband that most advisers will give you an initial consultation for free where they explain what they can do for you. “I would encourage your husband to participate and honestly share his concerns with each adviser until you find a good fit. Worst case, you gain a lot of knowledge and are only out of a planning fee. Best case, you find a professional you trust who you can work with in the future,” says Berenbaum.

Kelly Berenbaum, certified financial planner at Blue Tree Financial recommends interviewing financial planners who offer a one-time financial plan for a flat fee. “The adviser will help you understand your financial position, educate and make recommendations. Professional advice will cover all financial planning areas relevant to your situation, not just investments so you and your husband can get the help you need with no ongoing commitment,” says Berenbaum.

The best places to look for an adviser are through the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), XY Planning Network or Garrett Planning Network. “These are all groups that vet advisers to make sure they’re all fiduciaries,” says Bernell. (Looking for a new financial adviser? This tool can help match you with an adviser who might meet your needs.)

The other solution is that instead of convincing your husband to find an adviser, take an in-person financial education class yourself, says certified financial planner Danielle Miura of Spark Financials. “The best financial education classes have no strings attached and aren’t soliciting their products or services, like at a community college,” says Miura.

Having an issue with your financial adviser or looking for a new one? Email picks@marketwatch.com.

Questions edited for brevity and clarity.

The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of MarketWatch Picks, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.

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