Pay attention as you get yourself all wrapped up into Valentine’s Day. The flowers, cards and candy. Watch your spending and the spending of your courtier, if your paying close enough attention you’ll be able to see early signs of good financial behavior or terribly irresponsible spending. Either way while you sitting at that pre-fixe overpriced cold dinner looking into each others’ eyes, it’s a good time to ask, “hey, so how’s your credit?”. Pay attention to the surprise in their eyes, or the pleasure to share such information in an attempt to communicate their openess to discuss finance and the future. And when the bill comes back with no surprise “declined” comment, you realize …they might actually be a keeper.
At the very minimum, there are at least 5 finance accounts every couple should share, or are working toward getting together:
Joint Checking: Day to day and monthly household management, utilities and food, etc.
Savings/ (MMA) Money Market Account: For the Emergency Fund, home down payment, vacations, large purchases like cars and appliances.
Checking/ MMA Investment: For making investments and speculative activity into anything ranging from real estate investing to small business ventures.
Brokerage Account: For investing in mutual funds, stock and other long term investments.
Credit Card Account: For shared benefit expenses like vacation rentals, car rentals, travel, bookings and on the spot issues.
How does finances play a role in relationships when you’re trying to build yourself up? Can it be expected that your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend will take on your bills with your now that you’re together? Are old debts now shared debts? Do you share bank accounts and saving accounts?
When it come to relationships, another major qualifier other than how great a personality someone has, how good they look and make you feel should be what is their philosophy about finances. Do you have a spender, a compulsive saver or someone that just doesn’t have or want a clue about money on your hands? The time to figure this out may not be after you’ve kind of fallen head over heels, you know when you’re not thinking so clearly.
What if you’re already in a relationship and the finances are jacked up, one sided or no one is taking responsibility for your financial future? Who should be in charge of the finances? Probably you if you’re the one who noticed. Who should be guiding and ensuring you’re reaching financial goals of home buying, savings, retirement and education? Again, probably you. Credit scores, retirement savings and financial does matter. Unless of course you don’t mind making up the difference where your partner lacks in these areas. Now is always a good time to take a look at your finances and how they work in your relationship, because as you may already know, ain’t no romance without finance.