There are countless ways to say “I Love You” and some of them involve money and gifts. But the topic of money is probably not one of the sweet nothings that get whispered into ears on Valentine’s Day. As an advisor, I see that money can actually be the cause of friction in relationships too. I talk daily with my clients about their goals and fears. Sure enough, many couples have different ideas on how to get to where they want to go, and fear different obstacles along the way.
So as you plan your Valentine’s Day activities, perhaps you can take the time to rethink the role of money and love, and consider how the two can be partners, rather than cause friction. Here are five financial ways to say, “I love you”:
- Make a date (maybe not FOR Valentine’s Day) and promise each other to focus your talk on money. I see a lot of truth to the science of “opposites attract”. It’s common to see a saver/planner with a spender/money avoider. If you’re the latter, suppress the fear of boredom and let your special someone fill you in on what’s going on financially with the two of you. Time and capital are horrible things to waste.
- Understand that separate accounts can mean different things to different people. I’ve personally found that my wife likes to have some money of her own as an expression of independence and autonomy. Others may see separate accounts as a sign of secrecy and distrust. It’s important to get these different perceptions out on the table rather than avoiding the discussion altogether or keeping separate accounts a secret.
- It’s important to protect what’s important to you. Talk about what you would want to have occur in the event something happens to you. It doesn’t matter your age, discuss protecting each other and your family. This means discussing life, disability, medical, and long-term care insurance. It also means making special estate plans to ensure you are not setting up a situation where your spouse and your children will be at odds in the settlement of your estate. Thinking ahead and planning for these contingencies is a powerful way to show that you care.
- It’s common for one person in a relationship to “handle the finances.” If this is you, take the time to create a “what you need to know list” that your significant other can have in case of an emergency. I liken this to leaving the baby-sitter a list of instructions/contact numbers when you are able to sneak away from the kids for an evening. Keep that mindset and compile a list of all of your important accounts, numbers and passwords and find a safe place to keep it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Get someone like me to help facilitate the conversation. Allow someone to objectively hear about your goals and concerns so that they can help suggest what is best for you as a couple. It’s amazing what an impartial third party can do to clarify your issues, set common goals that you can pursue together, and find solutions that can work for you both.
Here’s hoping that you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day. This year, don’t stop with the usual candy and flowers. Put your money where your heart is and go down this list together. It can be one of the best ways to say, “I love you.” And if getting some objective advice with your finances will show your love, feel free to give us a call. We’re here to align your personal values, vision and SHARED wealth, together.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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