Forget the flowers, candy, and teddy bears. What you and your love should share this Valentine’s Day is a heart-to-heart conversation about money. Wow—what a buzzkill! Not really. Did you know financial discord is the leading cause of divorce? To keep this from happening to you, here are a few tips.
- Start talking about finances as soon as you realize the relationship is becoming serious. I’m not suggesting you should ask for someone’s net worth on a first date! Still, you should know each other’s financial condition before you live together.
- Be honest about your financial condition. If you represent yourself as being more financially stable than you are, you’re inviting confrontation. Plus, it’s just not cool to lie when you are in a relationship.
- Alternatively, hiding financial assets from your partner is equally unhealthy. I have worked with clients who do not know how much money their spouse earns. Not only does the secrecy lead to distrust, but it also creates an absolutely nightmarish estate situation.
- Talk about money concerns when you have enough time and are not tired. Keep the conversation focused on money, avoiding personal attacks beginning with phrases like “You always…” or “Why can’t you…”..
- Talk to each other about your dreams. Sometimes, financial stress in a relationship isn’t the result of limited resources; it’s the outcome of different life goals.
- Realize that beliefs often originate in childhood or young adult life. Financial opinions are part of most families, and these ideas are accepted or rejected by listeners in almost unconscious ways. These early memories impact how we interact with money.
Flowers die, candy just goes to your hips, and teddy bears eventually move to the closet. However, the ability to talk to your partner about financial issues will last for years. This Valentine’s Day, celebrate in the way that makes you happy. Then, sit down together, and start your financial plan.