February brings us Valentine’s Day, a celebration of romantic love and (hopefully) harmony within our relationships. But because money is often cited as the number one cause of marital discord, it’s important to remember that love can sometimes cause us to overlook financial disagreements. If you or your partner are committing any of the following blunders, it’s time to take off the rose-colored glasses and have an honest discussion about money.
One of you is in charge, while the other remains in the dark. Often couples decide to let the more financially-savvy partner handle all money matters. While there’s nothing wrong with putting someone in charge, the other person shouldn’t be completely clueless, either. Keep the lines of communication open so that both partners are informed.
On that note… Is one of you hiding assets? You should both be aware of basic information, such as number of financial accounts and their approximate worth. If you’re tempted to hide money, address the root cause of that problem.
On the other hand… Are you tempted to hide your spending? Secretly spending money can do similar damage as hiding assets. Ask yourself why you feel the need to hold secret credit cards or toss receipts before they are discovered.
Someone is holding onto unhealthy beliefs. We all hold beliefs based on our personal history and experiences. But sometimes we can go to extremes that are unhealthy, and those subconscious attitudes can cause us to make mistakes in our personal lives or with money. If one of you expresses extreme views on money management – either spending, or hoarding, or something else – those ideas can lead to relationship damage over the long term.
You can’t say no to friends and relatives. A recent study by Lending Tree discovered those who lend money to relatives will be repaid an average of 57 percent of the loan. If you have a hard time saying no, keep in mind that your odds of being repaid aren’t terrific. Repeatedly lending money can affect your own bottom line, as well as your relationship if one of you does not agree with the loans.
You don’t talk about topics like retirement. Many couples have believed for decades that they’re on the same page regarding retirement, only to be unpleasantly surprised when the time comes. Discuss this issue regularly, and bring your spouse to appointments with us. We will help you put together a retirement plan that can please you both.