Valentine’s Day is near, and romance is in the air. It’s a great time to think about money.
Wait. What? Money is so unromantic, right? Yes, but like it or not, finances are an inevitable factor in any committed relationship.
“Money can’t buy you love, but it can certainly tear it apart,” according to David Rosell, author of Keep Climbing: A Millennial’s Guide to Financial Planning. Seven out of ten couples say that money causes tension in their relationships, according to psychologist Terri Orbuch.
If you’ve involved with a special someone and thinking of taking the relationship to the next level – whether getting engaged or sharing an apartment – you must have the “money talk.” Sit down with your love and discuss finances. A frank discussion, early on, can fend off conflict and avoid heartache.
Here are a few tips:
Identify your money priorities. Ask your partner: Are you a saver? Or a spender? What are some of your financial goals for the next 10, 20, 30 years? Buying a house or buying a car? Saving for the trip of a lifetime, or saving for retirement? Compare your answers. Big differences and conflicting goals will inevitably create strife.
Understand your partner’s perspective. Studies show that men and women often view money differently. Women value money as a source of security and stability. Men feel more confident about taking risks with money. Try to understand your partner’s view. Make reasonable compromises where you can; set boundaries where you can’t.
Be honest with yourself. Are you dating someone that you know is financially irresponsible? Don’t fool yourself into thinking the person will change or “grow out of it.” If you don’t wish to leave the relationship, at least find a way to protect yourself from the person’s financial mistakes – perhaps by maintaining separate checking accounts, for example. Get an attorney’s advice before you tie the knot, especially if your mate-to-be has accumulated significant debt.
Let money bring you together. It’s true, money can trigger conflict, but when you hash out your differences, it can also create a deeper bond. Sharing goals and achieving dreams together usually involves some sort of financial resources; when you figure that out together, you’ll be even closer.
This Valentine’s Day, get on the same page, money-wise, with your significant other. You’ll feel more confident as you face the future together. And, if you decide talking to a professional can help, give InTouch a call. We have folks who are trained to provide advice designed to work best for you and your Valentine.