by Lynn Ballou
Certified Financial Planner™
CFP® Ambassador SF Bay Area
I don’t know about you, but when I’m standing in line at the grocery store, my eyes definitely wander to the tabloids – how can they not?
My favorite guilty pleasure headlines are usually the ones that make life sound so simple, such as “5 Steps to a Slimmer You!” or “7 Guaranteed Techniques to a Healthier You!”
I’m still waiting to see the one that says something like “3 Proven Ways to Achieve Financial Compatibility with Your Partner!”
Consider the Gift of Financial Intimacy for Valentine’s Day
According to Eleanor Blayney, Certified Financial Planner™ and CFP Consumer Advocate, “Fighting over money is the number one relationship buster among couples today.” Yet how many of us feel we were given the education, training or even the basic tools needed to figure out how to avoid that quagmire? Not many.
So what’s the solution? Maybe this year, instead of expensive chocolates, flowers and dinner, couples should give serious thought to tendering a more lasting gift: the gift of true financial intimacy.
Start by Sharing Your Financial Values
Where to start? At the beginning, of course!
♥ Tell each other how your childhood shaped your financial values.
♥ Talk about your professional goals with your partner, as well as theirs, because the paths you choose now will affect your income potential and lifestyle permanently.
♥ What about ownership of more material items?
♥ Are you a Ritz Carlton type of girl (and if so, can you afford to be!), or will a simple camping weekend make your heart beat faster?
How about your partner – same views? If different, will this create financial friction in your relationship or can you compromise?
Financial Intimacy Helps Build Stronger and
More Satisfying Relationships
Great relationships are built on many foundations, including understanding, trust and respect. When it comes to money issues — which so many of us feel uncomfortable discussing even with our partners — these are the real building blocks.
♥♥ Understand where the other is coming from by seeing a complete view of the financial world from their side of the lens. This might include some unpleasant lingering debt or spending habits, or some really awesome investment discipline, but you need to know it all and you need to share yours.
♥♥ Trust comes over much time and isn’t instantly earned nor won. Do you envision combining all your finances? Should you have agreements in place regarding what you each bring to a relationship financially? There’s a lot to think about, and more important, there’s a lot to discuss. Hiding your true feelings on the topic of trust and money can create a toxic financial environment that can poison even the best relationships.
♥♥ Respect for each other’s life journey isn’t just about romantic love, it has to be about shared core values as well as the differences we each bring to a relationship. The longevity of our relationships often may rest in whether or not we can both respect and accept financially what each other brings to the table.
Ideally, we figure out financial compatibility issues before we commit to long-term relationships. But even then, we should really never put this issue aside, right? Because as life changes, so do our circumstances and so do we.
They say in those attention grabbing headlines that “Communication Leads to the Most Rewarding Intimate Relationships!” Old news, right? The real story is that it also leads to financial intimacy as well. And that may be the most important and lasting keystone to a truly loving relationship.
Lynn Ballou is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and co-owner of Ballou Plum Financial Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm in Lafayette, CA. Lynn is also a Registered Principal and Branch Manager with LPL Financial (LPL). As such, she is required by securities regulations to add the following information to this column: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendation for any individual. Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. To see the list of states Lynn Ballou is registered in, please visit www.ballouplum.com.
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Category: Your Finances