Love and Money
by Edi Alvarez, MSc, CFP®
Contemplating or just starting out on what you hope or expect to be a long-term relationship? Speaking frankly about ﬁnances is a difﬁcult, yet important step, for most couples. The secret to establishing a strong relationship is shared values, respect and trust.
There are three documents you need to review together as a ﬁrst step in your new relationship:
Yes, your credit reports are the most telling descriptions of how a third party views how you handle money. The goal is to be aware and to plan ahead. If there are problems, you ought to resolve them before you get deep into your new lives.
Next, make a commitment to how you will both review your ﬁnances regularly and how you will handle all assets and liabilities. It may help to handle this as a business meeting or do it individually. At least twice a year review your goals against your current ﬁnancial situation and adjust as needed.
Communication is critical in any relationship and failure to discuss ﬁnances is at the core of many failed relationships. It is a huge red ﬂag if you are both ready to join your lives and yet you are not able to discuss and plan for your ﬁnancial lives together.
If you need assistance consider talking with your parents, close friends, counselor or your ﬁnancial planner. If you are considering counseling you should check to see if it is covered under your beneﬁt plan at work.
With good communication and planning your love can grow into a long-term relationship as you share in life’s adventures.
The PBS narrative by Geraldine Hilton and Mileva Maric Einstein-Marity, titled “Einstein’s Wife.” It is a must see:
When considering integrating your lives together have an open and honest discussion about your credit history, debt load, income, retirement, savings, ﬁnancial goals in addition to the usual discussions about family and careers. There really is no bliss in not knowing!
[Originally published in sfAWIS Newsletter, vol 4 no 2, Spring 2007.]
© 2007 Edi Alvarez. All rights reserved.