Don’t fall into these financial pitfalls with your valentine

Happy Valentine's Day!

The holiday known for love, chocolate and flowers is quickly approaching. While you and your sweetheart are planning a lovely Valentine’s Day weekend, remember that romance should not be limited to one holiday alone.

When it comes to harmony within relationships, financial issues are often said to be one of the biggest sources of feuds. This Valentine’s Day while you are enjoying your conversation heart candies or digging into that box of chocolates, keep in mind the effort it takes to not only maintain a romantic relationship, but also one that practices healthy financial habits.

Here are some tips on how to not let money matters come between you and your valentine:

  • Say no to secrecy. Being open when it comes to finances is the best option. Being secretive about potential money problems will only further distrust in the relationship. Communicating honestly will put you both on the same page to combat issues together. Remember, you are strongest when you work as a team.
  • Budget together. When it comes to being open about your financial matters as a couple, a good way to keep the lines of communication open is to plan your budget together. OVB’s Benjamin Tracker is a great tool to help both you and your valentine set goals and stay on track. Keep each other up to date on your progress and hold each other accountable.
  • Find common ground on saving goals. While spending money is the source of many relationship woes, couples often disagree on the best ways to save their money. Discussing your individual goals can help you come up with a compromise when it comes to your saving goals as a couple. Working on your budget together and having a saving plan in place can help avoid future financial misunderstandings and arguments.
  • Understand spending habits. Many of us develop our spending habits at a young age. Family influence typically plays a part in how we view money as adults. For example, your valentine might be super conservative with money while you like to splurge on fancy dinners or vacations. As you work on your budget and utilize Benjamin Tracker to help you plan, perhaps find solutions you both agree on, such as gourmet dinners once a month or setting back a select amount of funds to save for a vacation.
  • Don’t let income differences divide. It is very common for one partner in the relationship to earn a higher salary. This can unfortunately be the cause of many relationship arguments. The partner earning more might feel entitled to spend more or may feel that they need to conceal their income. While the partner bringing home less may either feel resentful or like they don’t have a say when it comes to the financial future. The key thing to remember is that you and your valentine are on the same team. When you create common goals and build a budget together, petty income arguments can be avoided.
  • Sharing responsibilities. Another effort to avoid the income dispute is to consider dividing household responsibilities. For example, if you are working late on a project, come to an agreement that your partner will fix dinner or take on more household chores that week. If your partner starts their workday earlier, perhaps you agree to put the kids to bed that evening so that they may get adequate rest. Also, it’s important to never assume one person do all the chores because they earn less. Instead, devise a fair plan that will help you achieve your goals both professionally and as a couple.
  • Figure out your future goals. Many couples jump into long term relationships and even marriage without actually discussing where they see their future. When the subject of children or long term plans, such as retirement, inevitably arise, this is often the source of many arguments. Knowing where you stand on these issues will help you reasonably plan for the financial future. Having children is a long-term, costly expense and it is good to make sure you are ready to handle the financial responsibility. In addition, retirement while possibly years down the road, is a huge decision which takes both effort and considerable planning. Talking to your bank about long-term saving options can help you make these important decisions together.
  • Take on debt together. When you are married, your debt is essentially now combined. Instead of focusing on who has more debt whether it be for student loans or credit cards, work on how you can reduce and ultimately eliminate your debt all together. Again, budgeting and creating a long-term financial plan are steps that will help you decrease debt. While not exactly a romantic talking point, before getting married it’s always a good idea to know each other’s credit. This will help you both understand how much you need to save or what it will take for you to make important financial decisions, such as buying your first home together.
  • Always have an estate plan in place. It is often wrongly assumed that only the wealthy have an estate plan. When in reality, it’s a good idea for all married couples to create one. Unfortunately, we never know when tragedy could strike, so having important documents in place, such as a living will and power of attorney, will help ease stress if and when such circumstances could occur. Making sure your love is taken care of in the future is one of the best things you can do for each other.

While there are many more money issues couples may face, the important thing to remember is that you are not alone. With your forever valentine by your side, you can enjoy each other’s company while also building your financial future.

For tips on how to have a fun yet frugal Valentine’s Day, check out our ideas here. From all of us at OVB, Happy Valentine’s Day!

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