In the dance of love and finances, finding the right rhythm is crucial for a lasting partnership. As financial planners, we are under no delusions that talking about money is easy. In fact, some find it so challenging that they choose not to talk about it at all.
February – the month of love, with Valentine’s Day right in the middle – provides a great platform to explore your money love language. Much like the way we express affection through love languages, understanding how you and your partner express yourselves through money can strengthen the bonds of your relationship.
Below are five love languages that you can use to facilitate the money conversation. Remember, the goal is to use this opportunity to share your dreams and bring you closer together by finding one or two love languages that work for both of you.
Financial Transparency: Communicating Openly and Honestly
In any relationship, communication is key, especially when it comes to finances. For those who value words of affirmation, openly discussing financial matters can be a powerful way to connect. Imagine celebrating your financial wins together, from conquering debt to navigating life’s financial challenges. It’s crucial to approach these conversations with care, acknowledging that not everyone is comfortable baring their financial soul – particularly at the beginning of a relationship. A little positivity and encouragement can go a long way in making these talks productive and affirming.
Try it out: Sit down for a cozy evening at home, celebrating your financial victories – big or small. Discuss your goals, share your money struggles, and, most importantly, affirm each other’s efforts.
Money-Focused Acts of Service
Acts of service can be a powerful expression of love, especially when it comes to managing finances within a relationship. Whether it’s budgeting, planning a vacation that fits your budget, looking for tax savings opportunities, or devising a plan to tackle debt, these gestures demonstrate a commitment to your shared financial well-being and illustrate love in the language of financial responsibility.
Try it out: Create a budget and start by tracking your last 3 months of expenses. Identify the top 3 expenses (these usually include dining out and groceries!) and figure out ways you can both cut costs together. Another place to start may be reviewing subscription services and asking the question “Do we really need all of these services?” These conversations speak volumes about your shared commitment to building a future together.
Gift Giving: Expressing Love through Thoughtful Tokens
Gift-giving as a financial love language is not about extravagant purchases. It’s about thoughtful gestures that convey love and appreciation. As Valentine’s Day approaches, consider how a well-timed trinket or a donation to a meaningful cause that you are both passionate about can have a more profound impact than a larger gift. This conversation gives you the opportunity to align expectations on cost and frequency with the goal of avoiding potential misunderstandings.
Try it out: Pick up a small treat for your partner the next time you run an errand to show them you were thinking of them. Bonus points if it is something on sale! Discuss which non-profit you want to give to – for example: if you are both animal lovers, the SPCA would love to receive a donation.
Investing in Quality Time and Experiences
Time is a precious commodity, and for some, investing in quality time is the ultimate expression of love. Whether it’s vacations or planning a special date night, money becomes a ticket to shared experiences. Communicating preferences for how much money will be spent on quality time is beneficial to ensure both partner’s needs are being met.
Try it out: Set aside a portion of your budget for shared experiences. It could be a simple dinner at home or a weekend getaway. The focal point is cherishing the time spent together both in the “planning and the doing.”
Planning for Your Future: Saving as a Love Language
For some, expressing love includes planning for the future. Creating a safety net (emergency fund) and planning for a secure retirement signifies a commitment to growing old together.
Try it out: Set a goal to save 3-5 months of expenses in an emergency fund account together. How much will you each contribute? Save these funds in a high-yield savings account to earn interest.
Remember, Valentine’s Day is about love… and respect. Understanding how you and your partner express love through money can strengthen your relationship and pave the way for a harmonious financial future.
However, if you find you are bumping up against roadblocks with your partner, a financial planner can play a crucial role in facilitating these conversations. As a neutral third party with a professional perspective, a planner can help you find a middle ground – whether it’s related to savings strategies, debt management, or investment strategies. A planner’s primary objective is to strive to align your money choices with your shared goals in mind!
Reach out if we can help!