For couples, Valentine’s Day often involves chocolate, flowers, fancy dinners, and lavish gifts — all of which add up to an extremely expensive display of affection. According to the National Retail Foundation, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach more than $20 billion this year.
Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on Valentine’s Day, you and your partner can show how much you mean to each other by making these financial moves together.
The best part:
You’re helping to improve each other’s financial lives — a much more meaningful way to celebrate your love for one another.
1. Discuss and plan your money goals
Take this opportunity to chat about each other’s personal finances and financial goals.
Talk about your relationship with your money, your career plans, and what you aim to achieve from a financial standpoint.
Money is a touchy subject between anyone, not just couples. The topic often entails a sense of vulnerability.
The ability to disclose and share your financial situation and outlook can be a major bonding experience that exhibits trust.
Get on the same page financially early and properly because money is often the reason that relationships don’t work out in the long run.
2. Join your finances
Show your commitment to your significant other by taking steps to combine finances in some way.
It could include:
– Moving in together
– Opening a joint bank account
– Creating a budget together
There is a high level of transparency required from these financial moves.
For example, moving in together is a big step emotionally and financially. You’re living with each other and that could mean splitting the expenses and other financial obligations.
From a bigger picture, this move may boost the cash flow for both you and your partner because the shared costs are lower than living separately.
Or, if you open a joint bank account, you reveal spending activity and income that holds each other accountable to those goals that may have set forth in the first step. It shows that both parties are prepared to make changes to their finances for the benefit of the relationship.
3. Help each other make progress
Are there any shortcomings in you or your partner’s financial setup? Could you help each other make progress in the right direction?
You could offer to help one another:
– Boost credit scores
– Manage debt better
– Review investment portfolio
If there are plans to get married and buy a home together, a strong credit score is crucial for any major loans that are needed in the future. And, establishing good credit can take time.
One way to help your partner build credit is to add them as an authorized user on a credit card, which could help bump up his or her credit score.
Another financial burden to many people is debt, especially high-interest credit card balances. It’s a source of stress — and relief from that stress could be a great Valentine’s day “gift.” Sit down and evaluate each other’s debt situation to see if there are ways to manage debt better. Are the debts being paid off in a way that will result in $0 balances? Does it make sense for one of you to consolidate the debts to a lower interest rate?
Finally, look at how you and your partner are approaching investments. Criticize each other’s portfolios for asset allocation, risk tolerance, expenses, and tax advantages. Are one of you too heavily invested in one market? Do you see cheaper mutual funds or ETFs that can replace an existing holding? Is an individual retirement account (IRA) missing from the portfolio?
In the end, these moves revolve around a relationship that has the best money intentions in mind. And, they could be a much more impactful Valentine’s Day activity than any exchange of material goods.