Love is in the air, and money is pouring into flower and chocolate shops across the country today. Instead of focusing on spending money, why not have an honest conversation with your loved one about money.
According to a recent CNN Money report, 80 percent of married people hide purchases from their partners. And an American Express poll found 91 percent of those surveyed avoid money talk with their significant other. Take this quick poll and see how your relationship's financial habits compare.
Here are a few tips to help get you and your partner on the right financial track today.
- Analyze Your 'Money DNA.' Your Money DNA is your individual outlook on money and finances. Some people are super savers. Others are chronic consumers. And when opposing Money DNA collides, things can get explosive. The trick is understanding and acknowledging you and your partner's individual Money DNAs, setting goals and mapping a strategy that can satisfy both points of view. Financial Literacy Commission member Mackey McNeill offers further discussion of Money DNA in this short video.
- Bare All. When it comes down to it, marriage really is a merger. Two businesses wouldn't merge without taking a close look at the books, and neither should couples. Before saying 'I do,' both people should offer full financial disclosure as part of a joint financial planning process. And the disclosure shouldn't end there. Each spouse should agree to routinely review credit card accounts, bank statements and credit reports to ensure all information stays out in the open.
- Set a Date. At least once a month, set aside an hour, without the kids, to meet about your family finances. This ensures an ongoing, open dialogue about money at a time when both people can free themselves from outside distractions. If an hour of finances sounds like as much fun as a trip to the dentist, pair it with a monthly date night, that way you can reward yourself for being financial responsible with a relaxing evening along with your loved one.
- Divide and Conquer. It's typical in a relationship for one person to take on the role of chief financial officer, managing accounts and paying bills. But this arrangement can lead to unnecessary stress, tension and, at times, confusion. Split the duties. One person can act as bill payer, the other as money tracker. This removes the burden from one person and provides a check-and-balance on the family finances.
- Take Advice. A neutral third-party is sometimes the best option to diffuse or avoid tensions over money. Your local CPA can work with you to establish financial goals, pay bills, monitor accounts and help notice any unusual spending patterns.
To see more savings tips, click here. Was this information helpful? What additional methods do you use to gain financial freedom?