The elephant in the room: Love and money
Cuddly stuffed animals, roses and balloon hearts – it’s easy to get swept up in the moment on Valentine’s Day. But in the midst of the butterflies, and never-ending devotion, couples should take a moment to address the green elephant in the room – their finances.
In today’s challenging economic environment, Jeanette Marais, CEO of Momentum Investments, says couples looking to build their wealth together need to take calculated steps towards achieving their financial goals. “While money may make the world go round, love keeps it spinning – honesty and transparency about money in a relationship is key,” Jeanette says. “Couples looking to build joint wealth need to ensure they have a financial plan in place to help them on their journey. Joint investing requires decision making from both parties, which can get complicated if it isn’t done correctly”.
Jeanette shares important tips for joint investing, to ensure no love is lost this Valentine’s Day.
Maintaining an open dialogue is key to a healthy money relationship. Some people are conservative and others free spirits when it comes to managing money. Couples may want to invest and save together, or separately – due to their differing risk tolerance goals, and that is fine. Maintaining an open line of communication on the topic of money may be the difference between the fairy tale happily ever after and a short-lived love story. “Talking about money makes many people feel uncomfortable, and couples may be inclined to avoid financial discussions because they fear the disagreements that may arise. By talking openly and honestly about money, couples can establish common grounds despite their differing money styles,” says Jeanette.
Set clear financial goals
Managing your finances as a couple is no different to doing so individually in that the first step is clearly defining your goals. Financially savvy couples need to take time to better understand their finances and make a plan. “One of the mistakes couples make when it comes to their finances, is not having clearly defined goals. By setting goals both partners can manage each other’s expectations while working to achieve the desired outcomes. We all have different investment personalities, once the goals are clear it becomes much easier for the investor and the financial adviser to determine the actions necessary to achieve them,” adds Jeanette.
Explore your options
Whether it’s saving money towards a holiday, buying a house, or investing for retirement or your children’s education, couples need to explore their options. “People often use the terms investing and saving interchangeably, however the time frames and goals dictate the different approaches. Couples can invest together for long term goals such as their child’s education. Couples can also have individual savings for personal short-term goals, like a holiday with friends. What is key here is exploring the options and communicating,” explains Jeanette.
Talk to a financial adviser
Earlier is always better when it comes to financial planning and investing. Couples looking to plan their financial future together should seek the help of a professional. This will not only ensure that you are on the same page and both involved in the decision making, but can also contribute to easing any tension. Jeanette adds that it’s important for both parties to meet with an adviser, together: “Financial advisers help simplify the complexities around saving and investing together as a couple. They act as the objective third party – working together with you and your partner to plan your financial future while pointing out any gaps in your plan.
“Life happens, and things may change unexpectedly, couples need to ensure they are flexible and review their financial plan on a regular basis – amending it to fit their lifestyles and financial goals.
Money will impact any choices you and your partner decide to make. This Valentine’s Day, Jeanette encourages couples to consider more than their romantic future. “Honesty and communication are the foundations of any good relationship, and this should be no different when it comes to money matters. You may not reach financial stability as a couple overnight, but take the first step by addressing the green elephant in the room this valentine’s day,” concludes Jeanette.