Kolkata, February 14: Valentine’s Day means roses and chocolates and candlelight dinners and romantic gateways and that is exactly how you should be spending this day with your loved ones. But you should keep some time apart for a money date.
No, we are not saying you should pour over spreadsheets as the waiter pours you the wine, but spending an hour discussing money matters is highly recommended. And like any other date, this should be a regular affair too.
The discussion should start with how each of you view money. Couples may come from diverse backgrounds and have entire different views of money. For example, you might put a house on a top priority while your partner may want to spend on an exotic foreign vacation. The idea is to understand each other’s perspective and arrive at a balance.
You can then discuss your financial situation and your cash flow. Have you been able to stick to your budget? Or have there been some unplanned expenses recently? Do you need to prepare for some big purchases in the near future? This is a good time to review your budget and see if any adjustments are required. Both of you should use a single money management app, so that you can review them together. Remember, it is important for both of you to stay on the same page. If one of you is making sacrifices while the other is splurging, it could lead to tension in the relationship.
Also discuss your goals, both medium and long term. This could include holidays, buying a car, or goals like retirement and saving up for your child’s education. Spend time evaluating whether these goals have changed and what you need to do to adjust.
When discussing money, it is also important to talk about how you have planned for emergencies. Do you have an emergency fund in place? Are both of you covered for life and health insurance? Having a financial safety net is important and it needs to be reviewed occasionally.
Another aspect to discuss is debt. Is there a mortgage running? Do any of you have an education loan? Is there credit card debt or personal loans that need to be paid? The loans need to be repaid on time. Not making payments on time can also affect your credit score and reduce chances of getting a loan in the future. If you have a huge credit card or personal loan debt, you both need to work out a strategy to pay it off at the earliest. This could mean cutting down on certain expenses to free up the money.
There is another exercise that couple’s can do on a finance date- learn more about personal finance. You may want to read some personal finance books or subscribe to a personal finance magazine.
Finally, it is important for both partners to be aware of where the important documents are, the passwords and log in details of bank accounts and also names and contact of your financial planner and tax consultant.
Money cannot buy love, as the saying goes, but for couples, financial intimacy is important.