Valentine’s Day is around the corner – and whether you love or hate this date, it’s a good reminder to examine the role that money plays in your relationship.
Unlike that gift-wrapped box of heart-shaped chocolates that’s gone in a flash, making some sensible financial decisions now could improve the chances of you and your partner enjoying many happy years together.
So while roses are red, violets are blue, here’s some financial advice especially for you - from Justmoney. This personal financial website provides busy and digitally savvy South Africans with easy access to financial products, services and information.
Firstly, it’s important to understand your own feelings about money before talking to your honey. “This topic can be very emotional for some and trigger deep-seated feelings such as fear or guilt,” says Justmoney Commercial Manager Sarah Nicholson.
Some people believe that they don’t deserve wealth or feel guilty when they do well while knowing that others are struggling. Balancing emotions and money is important.
As in love relationships, opposites attract, and a big spender could partner with someone who’s frugal. Tensions can mount when partners have different financial incomes, expectations and priorities. This is exacerbated when they’re faced with a large, unplanned-for expense. There could also be the heart-wrenching discovery that a partner has secret spending habits or is deep in debt.
As in personal relationships, communication is key. A regular money date sounds scary, but it could be as simple as spending 10 minutes a week discussing the family finances. Ignorance isn’t bliss, and it’s important to establish a solid financial foundation. What happens if one of you loses their job, or a family business goes under, for example?
In your money discussions aim to be open and truthful, avoid being judgmental, and try to compartmentalise your financial challenges from other issues in your relationship.
It could be worthwhile making an appointment with a financial adviser or family lawyer if you’re considering a major life change such as moving in together or buying a property.
When making a commitment to one another, you need to know what assets your partner has and what debt they owe. Keep in mind that there’s good debt like a home loan, while trouble could be looming if your partner has hooked up with a short-term, high-interest loan. Revenge spending is never a good idea.
Once you’ve agreed on how to manage your cash wisely, how do you make a loving gesture without blowing the budget? This Valentine’s Day, a carefully considered, heartfelt treat could mean far more than booking a table at an overpriced restaurant. What about a picnic in a romantic spot, with a handwritten note telling your partner what you love and appreciate about them? Find out more tips on how to avoid overspending on Valentine’s Day here.
“Justmoney also has a ‘deals’ section where you can discover restaurant, spa and retail specials, discounts and vouchers. This way, you can plan ahead for a special treat without blowing your budget,” says Nicholson. See deals for ideas.