Happy Valentine’s Day! About to spend your lunch hour picking up a bouquet of roses or a fancy box of chocolates? We have an idea that might do a lot more to show your loved one how much you care.
And just what is that great idea? Have a talk about money.
Alright, alright. We know this doesn’t scream “romantic” the way something sparkly or candle-lit might, but here’s the thing: money matters. Too many people just don’t want to go there and attitudes toward money can hurt — or improve — a relationship. So, finding the courage to have a real talk about it shows your relationship is deep, meaningful and truly intimate.
Though, maybe we’ll backtrack on the flower/chocolate thing — go ahead and buy those to bring along for the chat. And don’t expect to conquer the whole topic in one conversation. It’s a big talk.
Here are some ideas to get you started. And you can have a variation of this chat with kids and friends too.
Step 1. Talk about what money means to you and why. Most of us have pretty specific attitudes and beliefs about money and how we should spend and save it. You might be modeling your parents — for good or bad — or doing a complete 180 — again, for good or bad. You might feel pretty good about your attitudes — or pretty conflicted. And now you’re throwing someone else’s attitudes and beliefs into the mix. You can see where this could get complicated! So really listen, don’t judge, and hear what your loved one has to say. We’re not saying these conversations are easy, but you have to have them before you can take any other financial steps together.
Step 2. Set some financial goals you can work toward together. Your goals will probably be a mix of the relatively small and quick (save up for a family waterpark weekend) and the big and ongoing (save for retirement or the kids’ college). Whatever they are, the goals should be things you agree on and that align with what’s important to both of you. Write your goals down. There’s tons of research to prove this helps things happen. Then prioritize them. Again, work on this together and be willing to hear each other out and compromise.
Step 3. Map out a strategy to help you achieve those goals. To do this you’ll need to think about a couple things: how much money you need to accomplish your goals, things you could do to make them happen, and potential roadblocks. Summit has some great tools to help: our mobile app (an easy way to stay on top of your balance), online banking alerts (to keep you out of the danger zone for spending) and Money Minder (which lets you track spending, set goals and more). One of the best things about Money Minder: it shows you exactly where you’re spending and saving, in real time. And knowing exactly where your money’s going is a proven way to do a better job managing it.
Step 4. Keep the conversation going. The money talk isn’t a one and done — it’s something you’ll need to work on, together, for the rest of your life. And heck, what’s more romantic than that?
Own your money — together! With a little help from Summit Credit Union.