There are a million different ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Want to try something delightfully new this year? Give the gift of financial freedom and security – the ultimate act of love. Lasting partnership requires communication and trust.
Love isn’t cheap: Americans are estimated to spend about $27 billion for Valentine’s Day each year.
Yes, the memories you create together are priceless. But, what if you could give your significant other a gift that will provide value for years to come and strengthen your relationship?
It’s hard – and sometimes awkward – to bring up the subject of money. For many, there’s no more significant source of stress. However, for your relationship to grow and flourish, they’re conversations you need to have.
As a financial advisor in Newark, California, I know the importance of meeting with someone who can objectively interact with you and your partner on the most delicate subjects involving personal finances and bridge the gap on how two handle shared money. This way, you’re able to have the correct path laid out, with clear expectations communicated for both parties.
Love, Money, and Your Significant Other
Talking about your finances may not be as romantic as a candlelit dinner, but having those conversations is vastly more important to the health of your relationship. Plus, the alternative (not ever talking about money) is bound to complications down the road. Since the need to discuss finances will eventually present itself one way or another, it’s better to have an open, honest conversation before it becomes a problem.
Bottom line: Talking about money is the only way to avoid money-related problems.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. You’ll need to figure out what works for you and your partner. Ask other couples, your financial advisor, your parents, and the internet for advice on what works for them, then take only the parts that make sense to you.
Most of the conversations you have about money with your significant other will revolve around sharing your finances.
- Should you share everything, income, and expenses?
- Should you keep everything separate and split expenses 50/50?
- Should you split costs based on your relative income?
- Should you have a shared bank account and credit card?
The answers to these questions vary from couple to couple.
Whenever I’m asked my rule of thumb, I tell them I use a “yours, mine, and ours” approach. The idea is that it makes sense to share some income and expenses on certain things (like rent, utility bills, cable bills, groceries). It makes sense to split things (like daily expenses and discretionary spending).
As your relationship becomes more serious, you may shift more towards the “ours” bucket, developing a cohesive financial plan that best meets the needs of both parties. Find an arrangement that works best for your relationship, and don’t be afraid to make some tweaks along the way.
Don’t procrastinate, lead the conversation (share your details first), and keep in mind how much your partner’s upbringing has influenced what they know about money. Be honest, non-judgmental, and patient.
What Does a Healthy Financial Plan Look Like?
Much like a healthy relationship, a solid financial plan considers everything. Financial planning is the process of considering your current financial situation – income, expenses, assets, liabilities, savings goals, etc. – and answering questions about your desired future financial situation – retirement, moving, vacationing, etc. Once those periods are set, you create a plan connecting the two.
The best financial plans always start with the end in mind. How do you expect to get there if you don’t know where you’re going? Your dreams and goals for the future drive the financial planning process.
From there, you assess your financial health as of today.
- How much are you earning, spending, saving, and investing?
- What are your short-term goals?
- What is your temperament and risk tolerance when investing?
Based on these inputs, a plan is set, including types of accounts to use, what assets to invest in, how much to contribute towards retirement every month, and how large of a safety net to build.
Here are a few critical components to getting started:
- Know the best asset mix for you
- Utilize tax-advantaged accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs, and HSAs
- Have an emergency fund with at least 3-6 months of living expenses saved
- Aggressively pay down high-interest debt (credit cards)
- Build intentional spending habits
This entire process can be overwhelming – there are many decisions you need to make, you have no experience, and you can’t afford to screw it up. Plus, you have the added complexity of doing it with your partner. Fortunately, neither of you has to go at it alone.
Subscription-Based Financial Planning
The conventional financial-advising model is outdated. Some charge a percentage fee for assets under management. This fee is generally low, but the model requires advisors only to take on individuals with hundreds of thousands of dollars in investable assets.
This is fine for high earners and older people who’ve spent many years accumulating wealth, but what about everybody else? Everyone needs a financial plan, not just the wealthy – why should they be the only ones who can access advisors?
Our model is different: For $50/month, you can have access to a financial advisor, regardless of your financial situation! The earlier you get started with an advisor who knows and understands your current situation and all of the best practices for managing and growing wealth, the brighter your financial future becomes.
This Valentine’s Day, there may be no better investment you can make than scheduling a one-time meeting with a financial advisor in the Bay area who can navigate the delicate conversation and counsel your relationship towards a future.
Book a 30-minute complimentary consultation with us today, and let Humanity Wealth Advisors demonstrate true value. Make 2022 the year you take control of your finances and start building the life you and your partner deserve together.