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Cupid Wants to Talk to You About Money

Meridian Points

Love is in the air, and Cupid wants you to talk about money!

It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Just how much do we Americans spend to express our love? According to consumer research firm BIGInsight, Americans over age 18 will spend almost $19 billion on Valentine’s Day this year – the average adult spending over $130 on candy, cards, and gifts!

Despite the growing emphasis on financial literacy, money remains a taboo subject. We have been taught that it isn’t polite to talk about how much we spent on something or how much we earn. In a recent survey by credit reporting bureau TransUnion, 25% of respondents said they don’t talk about finances with their significant others.

It’s no wonder then that study after study reveals money as the most common cause of conflict among couples. Money can stir up intense feelings, especially among those closest to us. In fact, money has to be one of the least romantic subjects.

Many marriages end for financial reasons, but I am convinced it doesn’t have to be that way. If you learn to communicate, you can resolve important issues that have the potential to harm your relationship down the road.

Have regular conversations about money.

It is crucial for you to regularly set aside time to review your financial picture from soup to nuts.

What are your dreams and aspirations? Are you saving enough to achieve them? If not, where can you cut back spending? Are you taking too much (or enough) risk in your portfolio? The more you communicate, the more the two of you will discover about where you are and what you would like to accomplish together when it comes to your money.

Whatever you do, do not judge.

The fear of being judged is what keeps most couples from talking about money. We don’t want our partners to know about our spending failures, struggles with saving, or habit of charging things on credit cards. Whatever you do, don’t judge your partner for a past mistake. Instead, talk about what your challenges are and make a plan to move forward together.

Getting married? How will you and your future spouse handle money together?

Splurges that feel romantic when you’re dating can cause problems later on. This may sound harsh, but if your potential partner is careless with credit and spending, it will be tough to change him or her. No matter what stage of life you’re in when you get married, it’s better to address finances before you walk down the aisle. It’s important that you identify and discuss your respective financial styles. You may have some tough conversations, but it’s better to have them now than to go forward and be frustrated by what could have been learned before.

Having clear expectations and communicating personal priorities will help you compromise and reach decisions. Think in terms of understanding your Valentine, not changing him or her. Couples who balance love and money will prosper!

Meet the Author

Tom Coulter, CPA

President

Tom is the President and a founder of Meridian Trust. Tom graduated from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in accounting with honors, in 1978. Tom previously worked for the international accounting firm, Deloitte. He later joined the financial medical advising firm, FIS Associates, before founding Meridian Trust in 1997. Tom has worked extensively in retirement planning, taxation, estate and financial planning and investment management. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), and the Tennessee Society of CPAs (TSCPA).

Tom is also credentialed as a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) by the AICPA.