Dinner and a movie is so old school. This year, treat your Valentine to a money date! It may not sound romantic, but spending an evening talking finances might be the secret to staying together; money problems are one of the leading causes of divorce!
Setting financial goals will help you both know where you are headed. Set a date, get a sitter, make a dinner reservation and get dressed up if you like! Don’t forget your paper and pen or even a laptop if necessary. Have a positive attitude and keep an open mind.
Financial advisor Brad Allen talks with Milwaukee’s WTMJ-4 about the areas to cover on a money date:
Be Honest – About 12 million Americans admit they are keeping financial secrets from their partner, like a secret credit card or bank account. Keeping secrets is committing financial infidelity, which can put a big strain on your relationship.
Establish Limits – Spending habits can quickly lead to fights. In a recent survey, 60% of couples said their significant other was either spending too much or being too frugal. Set a limit on how much one person can spend without discussing it first with your significant other. That limit may grow with you as you get older and your income increases.
Review Your Goals – This part of the conversation looks different depending on your age and stage in life. If you don’t have kids, or if your kids are still young, discuss whether you want to help them pay for college, or how much you want to pay. You could set a goal of covering tuition, but not spending expenses.
Assign Homework – When splitting up the financial chores, take into consideration each person’s interests and strengths. One person may enjoy filling out the monthly budget, while the other doesn’t mind paying the bills. Or maybe neither one likes it and you have to take turns. However you split it up, it’s important to assign financial chores so you are both contributing.
Set Your Next Money Date – Don’t wait until next Valentine’s Day for your next money date! Set up a quarterly date to make sure you and your significant other stay on the same page. Consider an annual meeting with a financial professional who can help make sure you’re on the right track to reaching your goals.
Click here for a Money Date quiz to see which areas you and your significant other should discuss the most. There are no right or wrong answers; it’s designed to show you the areas you agree upon and where you may need to have more discussions.