Don’t let Valentine’s Day break the bank
Valentines day is coming up. Big day for taking time to show our significant others how much they mean to us. But is it also the day that most New Years Eve financial resolutions are broken? How tightly correlated are money and love?
Money isn’t everything and there are many ways to “live rich, yet spend smart” together. But working on money issues together is certainly a part of any healthy, long-term relationship. Here’s a couple reasons why finances are important to your relationship:
1) Gauging compatibility – Your spending reflects your values in a big way. I bet that compatibility based on spending behaviors is probably more accurate than any quiz that you can take. For example, a match.com survey noted, “57% of singles say debt has an impact on how they view potential partners, and it would cause them to reevaluate their relationships. 74% of singles said more than $5000 of credit card debt is a turn off.”
2) Deepening relationships – Values about money are deeply personal. It’s about ego, family values, virtues and vices. If you can’t feel comfortable addressing money issues with your significant other, it’s a natural limit on the depth of your relationship and a significant barrier to true trust. Have you ever looked through a bank or credit card statement with your significant other? If you haven’t, do you think it would be awkward?
3) Having more fun together — Night out with friend? Weekend getaway? Go see a show? This is what relationships are all about. But these are also spending choices and can be stressful. Couples who work together on these choices can figure out how to maximize these moments and make trade-offs on other, less important kinds of spend. Groupon and Smartertravel.com are great resources to reference.
4) Planning for your future. So, you’re married and in it for the long haul. Can you close your eyes and picture what your retirement looks like together? What age are you? Where are you living? What does your day to day look like? Lifelong relationships are about teamwork. Teams don’t often win without clear, shared goals. You need to talk about money to do that.
So, key artifacts of a healthy relationship, financially speaking:
- awareness of each other’s spending patterns and behaviors
- a joint retirement vision and plan
- a joint account
- frequent collaboration on shared spending goals (eg let’s figure out together how we save for that vacay)
The Beatles are probably right, “money can’t buy you love”. But it sure is essential to talk about money as a part of any long-term relationship.
Written by Alex Sion of the Moven Team, who has been happily married to Larisa for 11 years.