Personal Finance Pillow Talk: Seven Financial Ways to Say “I Love You”
CFP Board Consumer Advocate Offers Financial Advice for Couples
Too often, couples avoid talking about personal finances, dismissing the topic as unromantic and potentially contentious. While it might not be one of the sweet nothings you whisper into your partner’s ear during a Valentine’s Day date, personal finances are an important topic for discussion, especially for couples in long-term relationships.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (“CFP Board”) Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP® tackles the challenges money issues can bring to a committed relationship.
“Money is too often the central cause of break-ups and friction within a relationship,” says Blayney. “It’s time to rethink the roles of money and love, and consider how the two can be partners, rather than perpetual antagonists.”
In the latest installment of CFP Board’s “Let’s Talk Planning” blog and its “Financial Planning is for Everyone” series, Blayney shares seven financial ways to say “I love you”:
- Make a date with your loved one to talk about money: Many relationships are unions of money opposites: for example, a saver and a spender. Clue each other in on what’s going on financially, and be appreciative of the information.
- Consider opening separate accounts to use for buying gifts: If you share a checking account, a separate account can be useful so that your partner doesn’t know what was spent on a gift. It will also help avoid spoiling gifts with arguments over “too much” or “too little” being spent.
- Be transparent about having separate checking accounts: People have different perceptions on what having a separate account means. It’s important to lay these different reasons out on the table rather than avoiding the discussion altogether, or keeping a separate account a secret.
- Make a gift to a cause that your partner cares passionately about: This type of gift resonates especially well if you are on different sides of social or political issues, allowing you to acknowledge your partner’s opinion without necessarily accepting it.
- Do what’s necessary to provide for your significant other in the event something happens to you: Get adequate life, disability, medical and long term care insurance, no matter your age. Make special estate plans for second marriages or unions, particularly if you and your spouse do not have children in common, 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.
- Make a “what you need to know list” that your loved one can have in case of an emergency: If you’re the one who handles most of your shared financial matters, compile a list of all important accounts, numbers and passwords. Keep the list up to date.
- If you have issues talking to your partner about money, consult an expert: Together, choose a CFP® professional who will be committed to objectivity and to what is best for you as a couple. An impartial third party can help clarify your financial challenges, set common goals that you can pursue together, and find solutions that can work for you both.
“In addition to candy and flowers, put your money where your heart is. It can be one of the best ways to say ‘I love you,’” says Blayney. “Establishing an on-going relationship with a CFP® professional who can help you discuss these financial issues will strengthen your personal finances as well as your relationship.”
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