Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Are You Financially Compatible With Your Crush?

By Steve Mendez

With Valentine’s Day here, many of us are thinking about our romantic relationships. It's also a good time to think about your relationship with money. Why? Because it can affect your love life more than you may realize.

Financial relationships affect personal ones.
A net search on the top reasons couples break up will show money issues, nearly every time. Whether it’s hiding debt, not paying bills or being too controlling with cash, couples who are mismatched in money habits face pretty bad odds. In fact, they’re more likely to join more than 4 in 10 American first marriages that end before “death do you part.”

Men and women have financial preferences - even if they don't talk about them.
Studies show that, when it comes to dating and relationships, people with good financial habits are looking for partners who behave the same way. A 2016 Economic Times survey found the following:

  • Most men prefer partners who spend carefully and live within their means. 
  • Most women prefer partners who are smart investors. 
  • And, careful spending and investing were the top two most appealing traits to both men and women, followed by thriftiness, generosity and willingness to spend loosely.
Age matters.
It’s important to note that age also plays a role here. The survey showed couples in their 20s disagree more often about spending too much and not saving enough. While couples in their 30s and 40s argue more about making wise investments.

Debt can be awkward.
OK, we’ve covered saving and investing. But, what about the D-word (debt)? Research shows that, overall, 94 percent of men and women are willing to help a partner repay an outstanding debt. But, one in five women will only do so if they're made part owner of the asset. This could be awkward if you’re still paying off student loans.

You can find your financial compatibility.
So, you want to put your best financial foot forward. Whether your relationship is new or a lasting one, how can you approach the topic without seeming too materialistic? It's simple: 
  • Take your time. 
  • Make financial conversations more specific as the relationship develops. 
  • Learn your partner’s habits around spending, saving, investing, etc. over time. 
  • Be open about yours.  
How well do you understand your financial habits and your relationship with your money? If you have a love interest, how well do you understand his or hers? Now might be a great time to check them out.