Money and love are intertwined. In fact, one study found that the action of getting or losing money activates the same parts of the brain that falling in love and heartbreak do. With individuals growing up under different money mindsets, it’s also no surprise that money can cause friction in relationships. Almost one-third of couples disagree on finances at least once a month, either about a big ticket purchase or overall spending habits. But it’s not all bad. Finance and finding your one true love can co-exist and lead to growth and increased satisfaction in relationships at all stages. As we approach Valentine’s Day, we want to talk about how openness and clarity in your financial life can lead to strength in your love life.
Communication is key
Talking about money isn’t alway easy, especially if two people in a relationship have had different experiences with money or view spending and saving differently. Setting the stage early for discussions around money and finances can actually kickstart a healthy financial relationship. Setting goals, ground rules on money, and financial strategies is highly encouraged as early on as you feel comfortable, and may even prevent conflict in the future.
There’s no one size fits all
There has been a long-standing debate as to whether separate or joint accounts lead to happier, more satisfied relationships. The truth is, it can go both ways. If both partners have similar spending habits, a joint account can be a great option, and encourage working toward similar financial goals. Keeping things separate can also allow each person to keep a sense of independence, and that can translate into a happier relationship, especially if spending habits differ. Many couples opt to do a hybrid – each contributing to a joint account for certain expenses and meeting financial goals as a couple, while still keeping their individual accounts.
If you’ve got a naughty spending habit, don’t keep it under wraps, especially if you are considering merging finances with a partner. This is especially important when it comes to couples considering homeownership together. Having a conversation about credit reports, credit ratings and debt is an important step for couples when considering this new and exciting moment in life.
This Valentine’s Day, consider planning a money date. Get intimate in your discussions about money, financial goals, and spending habits. Crack open a bottle of wine at home, find a cozy corner and learn about each other’s long-term and short-term goals, whether it’s a new home, a vacation, or that coveted big-ticket item you’ve been saving up towards. It’s also a good time to discuss sources of income and lurking debts. Maybe you’re up for a new promotion, starting a side hustle, or launching into self-employment. These are all great topics to kickstart this important conversation.
This doesn’t just have to be a Valentine’s Day conversation either. Scheduling regular discussions about money can help bring two partners closer together, and motivate each other to stay aligned with achieving collective and personal goals.
For mortgage brokers, this is a great discussion to have with your clients. If they are struggling to have this conversation with each other, offer your expertise on the importance of documentation and having a clear overview of finances before starting the homebuying journey as a couple.You may also discuss debt consolidation or refinancing options with clients burdened by credit card and other unsecured debts. It’s a great opportunity to remind clients about one of the many reasons open communication with each other is important, as well as their mortgage and real estate team. Couples should sit down and look at all the costs involved in purchasing a home, or consolidating debts including mortgage payments, utilities, moving expenses, and even groceries and other living expenses. It may be scary and intimidating, but love and money can live happily ever after.