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Five Ways Talking Finance Could Make Your Valentine’s Day More Meaningful

Five Ways Talking Finance Could Make Your Valentine’s Day More Meaningful

The American College of Financial Services
February 14, 2020

Valentine’s Day is about romance: from candlelit dinners in fine restaurants to curling up on the couch with chocolates, a bottle of wine, and a good movie. The holiday is about making others in your life feel loved, and feeling their care for you in return. It can be an intimate day for couples to spend together, or for those unattached to focus on some quality personal time and treating themselves to something nice. So of course it’s the last day you’d want to talk about something as weighty and unattractive as personal finance--but it might be one of the better decisions you could make.

The unfortunate truth is that among the reasons couples list for splitting up, not to mention just plain stress for those without a significant other, money is a big factor. Money management is such an all-important part of life and one generating such differing opinions that it’s hard to avoid an argument or two on the subject, even between the closest of partners. Why not use this Valentine’s Day to invest in your relationship by discussing a little finance in between dinner and dessert?

Still not convinced? Here are a few ways to bring the subject of money up gently with your loved one that will bring both of you closer together.

 

#1: Lead with the soft sell.

 

Just as a date can go south really quickly from someone coming on too strong, dropping a giant folder of financial paperwork on the table between you and your significant other is likely to be a big turn-off. It’s also not a conversation that should be taken lightly or in any way unserious. So like any good salesman, if you want to talk money with your partner, a good idea is probably to start small.

Depending on how well you know the person you’re with, the conversation could go a number of different ways, but the main point is to establish a basic, shared set of values in regard to money that you can build upon later on. What does your partner value? What things do they feel are important enough to them to spend money on? When is splurging on something allowable, and when does it become a problem? These are all fun, low-pressure ice-breakers that can eventually lead the dialogue into some deeper waters. If you and your loved one share an understanding about how you can and should use money in your everyday lives, you’re much more likely to be financially successful as a couple and more compatible as individuals.

 

#2: Show that special someone you care about their future.

 

As the conversation evolves and grows over hours, days, or years of being together, it’s time to start thinking long-term. Short-range financial goals are nice to have, but eventually life events like having children, sending kids to college, and retirement from the workforce will come into play, and it pays to be prepared. But nobody wants to talk about death or duties, especially on Valentine’s Day. How can you bring it up effectively, then? By showing your partner your love through concern about their financial well-being.

For those with kids, maybe use this opportunity to talk through setting up a college fund or investment account to get your children a jump-start on savings. For others, demonstrate how much you care by taking the time to make a plan in case of catastrophe. Your loved one will appreciate your concern for them if something bad should happen to you and see that you only want to make sure they’re taken care of. And for people who are living the single life, focus on some self-love by getting your personal finances in order and making sure you have a roadmap for where you’re going and how you’re spending and saving. Remember, a person with a plan can be quite a catch!

 

#3: Make it a date!

 

We know that most people’s idea of a good “date night” isn’t pouring over budget details or talking over the finer points of a retirement plan, but everyone has to discuss these important issues sometime. Why not make it fun? Set up a regular time each week, or month, to talk over household finances and other issues of interest to both of you. Remember, your loved one has just as much of a stake in your financial success as you do, and it’s your responsibility to be as prepared and informed about the state of your money as you can be.

Keeping financial goals in sight with a regular event can stop them from slipping through the cracks when you and your partner get busy. And if you have to discuss money, isn’t it better to do it with some romantic music in the background and a bottle of wine at the ready?

 

#4: Get creative with your gifts this year.

 

A big part of most couples’ Valentines Day tradition is getting gifts for each other, and if you’re in the headspace of wanting to plan for your financial future, you can use this to your advantage. There’s nothing more romantic than showing your partner how much you care about your relationship and making it as strong as it can be.

Sharing the details of a will or opening a savings account for someone may not be a traditional present, but in the long run it could be the kind that ensures stability and strength in your partnership with someone else.

 

#5: Commit to building some more support.

 

While some people may find it harder to admit than others, odds are that in you and your partner’s journey toward financial success, just as in your relationship, you can’t go it alone. Studies show those who hire an advisor to manage their money and investments are more satisfied and have stronger long-term showings than those who try to do it themselves. Many couples go to therapy in order to make their struggling relationships work, so why not take the much less painful step of hiring a financial advisor to help you?

Together with a trusted advisor, you and your loved one can put together goals and a plan that will strengthen your bond and set you up for success. If money isn’t something you’re always worrying about, it’s much less likely to cause friction between you. Not to mention the fact that even though it may not always feel good, asking for help from someone else is a great way to show your significant other how much you care. Use this Valentine’s Day to start building a life with your partner that will endure for years to come.