This is the time of year when people are thinking about what to get their sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. Gifts and romantic gestures can keep passion alive, but sometimes it is the more mundane things that keep relationships on track. While thoughts of budgeting and financial planning don’t seem at all romantic, these practical steps can ensure that you and your honey can keep the peace and be sweet to each other.
Whether you decide to completely combine your finances or you decide that you will keep certain things separate, the most important thing is that you come to a consensus. If two people decide to get married or move in together and ignore financial issues, it is likely that there will be a day when they must talk about money. Sweeping financial considerations under the rug can make that day more difficult.
In “Making Your Joint Finances Work,” Kelly Adams, EA, CFP® Novi, MI writes, “The key to making all of this work is open and frequent communication about how you’re feeling about your money management system.”
When it comes to financial planning and spending money as a couple, you may want to keep it “all in the family,” but it is possible that a third party can offer useful guidance. Consulting a financial planner may be of great help, especially if one (or both) of you has children from a previous relationship or has to take care of elderly relatives. These kinds of financial considerations, and the feelings you or your sweetheart have about these obligations, can complicate the way you look at your finances. A financial planner can help you combine your finances, plan for retirement, and advise you on estate planning.
And remember that a financial plan is not set in stone—you can alter it when you need to…and then have a romantic date afterwards.