Bouquets of flowers are prepared to be exported overseas, ahead of Valentine's Day, at a farm in Facatativa

Before you splash out on roses this Valentine’s Day, consider the fact that they will last a week, whereas a solid financial plan can set you up for a lifetime of prosperity. So, if you’re in a relationship, this Valentine’s Day consider making an important financial commitment to the love of your life.

This is the advice of Palesa Thloloe, a certified financial planner with Liberty.

Couples who work as a team and commit to a financial plan that is beneficial to both, increase their chances of enjoying a more stable relationship and achieving financial success, she says.

In the current economic environment, couples are faced with constant threats to their financial stability.

Debt is one of the biggest financial challenges couples need to deal with, Thloloe says. If one partner brings a lot of debt into the relationship, the other may need to help settle it before the couple are in a position to start building wealth.

Deciding who pays for what is often a challenge for couples, she says. “For example, when moving in together, often you find that one partner owns a property. This partner would stick to paying the bond while the other partner pays for consumables like food and groceries. This can create some animosity. If the relationship fails, the partner who was paying for consumables leaves the relationship with nothing.”

To avoid this, a couple may decide to split the living expenses while the less well-off partner invests a portion of his or her income into unit trusts, exchange traded funds or endowments. This could be useful later on in the relationship or used to buy assets for the partner who has none, Thloloe says.

Another serious threat to relationships is “financial infidelity,” she says. “Some people don’t want their partners to know how much they earn, spend or invest. A secretive approach can become a major hurdle, especially if this partner is spending money recklessly and putting the financial stability of the relationship in jeopardy.”

Thloloe recommends that couples consult with a qualified financial adviser or certified financial planner before they commit to marriage.

Four benefits of joint financial planning

According to Thloloe, there are relationship-strengthening benefits to having a joint financial plan. They are:

1. Improved transparency. Financial planning as a couple fosters a more stable relationship because both parties need to be open about what they have, what their long-term financial goals are, and how they plan to work together to reach these goals.

2. Trust and honesty. People have a tendency to lie to themselves about their own spending habits, just as they might lie to themselves about their eating habits or health. Thloloe says that an open discussion with your partner about your good and bad money habits can open the door for more honest conversations.

3. Commitment and understanding. It takes commitment and love for both parties to work towards a common goal. If financial challenges arise, both will need to adjust their spending habits to ensure that both are able to achieve their financial goals.

4. Better communication. Talking about money is a taboo in many cultures. If couples are able to communicate openly about their finances, they are likely to be able to talk about other aspects of the relationship too.