Hello all you Valentines!! Sending kisses and much love to you gorgeous couples!
Did you know though, that money issues rank constantly in the top 10 reasons for divorce? Probably something you don’t need reminding of on what’s supposed to be the most romantic day of the year!
But then, communication issues, infidelity and bedroom boredom also rank pretty highly… And ok, I’m not here to give solutions to those marital woes… I’ll leave that to the experts!
But love and money can be a tricky subject, and communication has a huge role to play in this area.
And whether you’re a big marshmallow preparing for the most romantic day ever… or it’s just commercial hype and gets a big miss in your house, it’s always worth chatting about money. Not sexy perhaps, but certainly smart.
Although discussing finances is a must before moving in together, committing to a relationship or opening a joint bank account… it’s an ongoing area that affects nearly every part of our daily lives. Without the dosh, there’s no food on the table, roof over the head, annual holidays or even the hint of a lifestyle.
Being upfront early can also open your eyes to traits in your potential partner that you might want to know about sooner rather than later.
If there has to be a Top Tip, it’s to discuss money issues with your partner and that’s long before it gets to the shouting match stage. Relationship goals are usually a joint decision that need sane and calm discussion (sometimes easier said than done… “honey, I’m pregnant!”)
People can have incredibly different attitudes to spending and saving which can cause much friction. It’s great to be upfront with each other and admit which style is more yours. Savers hate it when spenders come home with a new impulse purchase and the rates and water bills have just come in.
Helping spenders understand the needs of the family budget may help curb spending, or having a set amount to spend on ‘whatever’ may allow for the bills to be met, and have a little fun too.
If you’re not brave enough to pool your resources, based on previous trust issues, it’s a good idea to sit down and work out what your joint expenses will be. You can either have a joint account that you both put an equal or set amount into each pay frequency or commit to paying certain bills instead. That way, living expenses are covered, but ‘what’s yours is yours’ and remains that way. My mother much preferred ‘what’s yours is mine and what’s mine’s mine,” so whatever works for you!
And when you’ve both been through the wringer before and are looking at starting over, especially if you both have your own families, it can be really smart, if not terribly romantic, to arrange a Binding Financial Agreement (also known as a pre-nup) so if things don’t work out, you both know exactly what you’ll get on exit and protect what you’ve brought into the relationship for your children. It’s worth getting legal and financial advice for this one, and can put everyone’s mind at ease. It may not send you to the dance floor for a tango in a fabulous dress with a rose in your teeth, but it’s certainly practical.
In many families, there’s one partner who’s a little more money savvy and the other often delegates the family finances to that one. But not knowing what’s going on may be fine while everything is roses, but you’ll be kicking yourself if things go wrong and you’re clueless about what you have. So talk about it, and make sure you’re ‘kept in the loop!’
And if your partner isn’t willing to share about your joint finances and everyday budget and spending and savings, something is likely off, so start sniffing around. Intercept mail and let the bloodhounds loose.
Other families have issues where one partner is a much higher earner than the other. Being ‘with someone’ doesn’t mean you need to lose your financial identity though. It’s important to work out what your shared goals are as a couple and how they’ll be addressed but it’s critical to have your own goals too.
So, it’s not rocket science, and if you want your current honey to still be your Valentine in years to come… start the talk, and never stop.