Who Says Money Isn’t Romantic?
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air! If you’re ready to talk romance and finance with your significant other, we’re here to help.
So, what can a financial planner teach you about love and money? Quite a bit, actually! Planning money with a partner involves trust, patience, dedication, understanding, and the ability to communicate. With the right approach, getting on the same page about money could even strengthen your relationship.
As I like to point out, money is commonly viewed as a taboo subject. That’s probably why we see advice columns focus on the issues money can cause for partners and families all too often. Instead of avoiding financial discussions, I encourage you to open up with your significant other to communicate and address how you’ll manage money as a team. You can get started by deciding who will do what.
Finance and Romance
As you and your partner meet to discuss your financial intentions, it’s best to divide and conquer your shared responsibilities. Many couples naturally fall into these roles due to individual strengths, habits, and preferences. Yet it’s best to discuss these roles to avoid duplicating efforts — and in case there’s some disagreement.
Examples of Roles
Below, you’ll find some examples of roles you can assign. Many people handle multiple aspects of each, so I encourage you to find systems appropriate for your partnership, then define and assign the roles appropriate for your unique family structure. Discuss the strengths of each partner in deciding who will take ownership over which family matters.
Chief Operations Officer — Overviews the household operations, schedules, supplies, and the plethora of other duties that improve the functionality of a household.
Chief Financial Officer — Handles day-to-day tasks, budget, bill paying, taxes, other life administration work, etc.
Chief Revenue (or Sales) Officer — Responsible for bringing income to the family.
Going Further: Assigning Financial Tasks
You both agree to your primary roles in your financial household. Now, you two can get on the same page with how you’ll divvy up the plethora of tasks. Just like when assigning chores during spring cleaning, you’ll each have some tasks.
One person can handle some.
For others, multiple hands make lighter work.
Still others will require you to alternate responsibilities.
Board Meetings (aka Money Dates)
Next, it’s time to call a meeting of the board of directors. So plan your Money Date and download the Let’s Get Fiscal Worksheet to be your guide! During this meeting, you can both agree that there won’t be a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in your family since you’ll both be active members in the financial decisions for the partnership.
Yet you both will be visiting the accounting department often to keep tabs on the inflows and outflows of the family finances.
Strip Down To Your Data
Get financially naked with your partner and financially expose yourself. You built the foundation of trust and understanding already with conversations about money roles. Now it’s time to dig into the data!
According to a TD Bank survey conducted over five years, “one third of millennials would consider ending a relationship because of a financial secret.”
To build on your trust and to understand what you’re working with, below are sections to address with your partner so you two can truly understand your unique financial circumstances.
▶︎ Salaries and Incomes
Income inequality within a couple shouldn’t sway the power dynamics. You both are building a life together and it’s best to treat each other’s incomes as contributing to your shared lives. How you establish the allocations of your incomes is a topic, but be sure to communicate your salaries, income sources, and potential income sources in the future (inheritances, trusts, etc.).
▶︎ Assets and Savings
How much is in each of your savings accounts? How do you plan to set — and reach — your savings goals together? Consider your …
Checking and savings accounts
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
IRAs and Roth IRAs
401(k)s, 403(b)s, etc
▶︎ Debts and Loans
What do you owe and to whom? What’s your current plan to eliminate this debt, and how do you envision eliminating this debt as a couple? Think about your …
Other loans (taxes, medical, family, etc.)
▶︎ Credit Scores and Reports
Obtaining your credit score from an online provider can give you an overview of your credit history and how to improve. We recommend going through each other’s credit scores to see what influences each score and how to increase it.
If something doesn’t look correct, obtain your free annual credit report and do some research to correct any mistakes.
As our client, you have this financial planning tool available to visualize all of your financial information within one consolidated portal. You can use it as you become informed with the current circumstances of your partnership’s financial life as well as plan your future financial life together. Access your financial plan at RightCapital.
▶︎ Individual Budgets
How have you been managing your cash flow (aka your budget)? What have you liked in the past, what are your priorities, and how can you improve this system?
Don’t forget that this month is cash-flow February! Feel free to reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a dedicated one-hour cash-flow planning consultation with Regina.
I wish you and your partner all the best as you bring the romance to your financial lives!
Want more ways to plan with your partner? Whether you’re ready to commit, have recently married or are preparing to tie the knot, or you’re planning a loving legacy, read on for three more of my favorites.
1. Romance and Money: Let’s Get Fiscal!
Around this time last year, we previewed our latest FPFoCo Academy module called Romance & Money. It’s all about couples, commitment, and communication — and you can head to the Academy for the full picture or take a sneak peek right here on the blog!
2. Getting Married — and Marrying Your Finances
Don’t let the title fool you! Whether you’re tying the knot or not, Jason’s blog on the topic provides the pros and cons of combining finances versus keeping them separate. And if you decide to merge your money, scroll down on this one to find three steps to get started.
3. How to Give Better: Community Foundations, Private Foundations, and Donor-Advised Funds
As an Accredited Estate Planner® professional, I’m passionate about charitable giving. If you’re considering a giving strategy as part of your estate plan, check this blog out to learn how you can share the love! Or head to the FPFoCo Academy module called “Advanced Charitable Giving Strategies” to learn more.
Have you been thinking about bringing the one you love into your financial planning relationship with FPFoCo? If so, let me cordially invite you to schedule an initial consultation with them! And if you’d like to discuss this with us in advance, just find a time that works for you. It’s included in your unlimited meeting and consultation time.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Not a client yet? See if our ensemble approach is right for you.
Not a client yet? See if our ensemble approach is right for you.