Valentine’s Day is Friday, February 14. A quick reminder for those of you out there who may have forgotten. Traditional Valentine’s gifts include chocolates and flowers and maybe a night on the town. I used to do these things for my wife Elizabeth, plus have a barbershop quartet come and sing at dinner. My wife is very practical and after many years, didn’t really want the flowers, chocolates, or even the quartet. My wife, like many wives and husbands, just wants to be loved and appreciated. While we still go out for dinner on that special day, we focus more on those things that make growing old together meaningful.
One of the things we have learned to share, over our many years, is our feelings about our financial well-being. We share concerns about our saving, spending, our giving, and ultimately our retirement plan. As a couple, we face our financial matters together as a team. After years of good communication, we have a good feel for each person’s financial views. We celebrate the triumphs we have as we get closer to reaching our financial goals. We also find great pleasure in sharing what we have been blessed with, to our church family and other various charitable endeavors. Our love for each other has grown stronger in both good and bad times because we have communicated well along the way.
Perhaps this year is a good time to talk to your Valentine about your mutual goals. Maybe you’ve never had a clear vision of what you can accomplish. Regardless of your age, you will find that you have better control of your situation with good communication and a partner that is on the same page. Maybe you will show your love by preparing for an untimely death by owning life insurance, or planning ahead for both of you with Long Term Care insurance so that there is more financial security if an event happens. It could be disability coverage, savings for education, retirement, a second home, or even a charitable cause. There are lots of ways to say I love you as we plan for the future and do so in ways that protect what you have built together.
Life is not all about money, but it can be positively facilitated by judicious use of money. Learn how to be good stewards of your money. Have a set of goals and remember that they are magnified in the sense that two people must buy in and be aligned in how their spending and savings will make their future dreams a reality.
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable discussing these matters, or worse yet, you feel hopeless about your current financial situation. If that is you, seek the advice of a professional. Importantly, go to the meeting as a team. Create a plan of action that you both agree on and work at it diligently. You may find that having a plan and working on it together can help alleviate many of your worries. If you look at statistics on why couples do not end up staying together, arguments over money are the leading cause of divorce.
Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love and relationships. If there is a strain in your relationship because of money or the lack thereof, do not sweep it under the rug. Show your loved one how much you care by starting that conversation and making a plan together for a better future.