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People either look forward to or dread Valentine’s Day. It’s a day to express your love for family and friends, but it can also be a divisive holiday that reminds us of the complicated relationship our society has with Love and Money.

Not all relationships have strife about tangible gifts and money, but it is proven time and again that financial disagreement is one of the leading contributors to divorce. These disagreements can range from how much to save and what to spend your money on, to lingering debt management issues from one or both parties.

Regardless of your current level of wealth and whether you have personal financial struggles or not, these tips can help you avoid disagreements with your partner about money and create a more harmonious relationship:

1) Make a MONTHLY BUDGET together.
Don’t assume that your partner has the same opinions about spending, savings, and debt management. You need to prioritize your goals together and make compromises. Living within your means is one optimal goal, but you need to discuss the nitty gritty too (how should you spend your money, and what’s important to you now and in the long term? Do you want to spend more on things or on experiences together?)

2) Agree to pay off your DEBTS.
Managing the weight of debt is stressful for anyone, and it can create added stress on your relationship. Work together to set up a schedule for paying down debts more quickly. That may mean making temporary sacrifices in terms of your lifestyle and spending habits, but getting out of debt will be a relief for both of you.

3) Discuss Your Expectations for GIFTS.
Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Birthdays – whatever the holiday, you need to have a plan for how much you can afford and how much you should spend on one another. This minimizes any feelings of inequity in your relationship, and also helps you stay within your established BUDGET. If you’re willing to forego gifts for some holidays, that’s even better. Make time for each other to show your love in different ways – plan a meal together, binge watch your favorite series on Netflix, or spend the day doing something outdoors together. Gifts of time are often the best kind!

4) Go on Vacations and Dates.
Make time together a priority. Plan vacations, dinners out, and adventures that fit within your budget. Great experiences don’t have to cost a lot. At the beginning of each year, set a goal for how many days you would like to vacation and go on dates and begin searching for locations and ideas that you will both enjoy.

5) Hire a Professional to help you with your Finances.
If arguing about money is a contributing factor to the high rate of divorce, it makes sense that marriage counseling may not be the only way to fix problems in a marriage. A financial advisor can ease your worries, alleviate uncertainty, mitigate disagreements to create a compromise, and help you make a short and long-term financial plan. Sometimes the advice of an objective third-party is a necessity, not a luxury.

Whatever your plan for this Valentine’s Day, cherish the moments with your loved ones, and don’t spend time arguing about money. Contact your us for help in building your family budget and securing your future together, 301-543-6000.