Why It's Romantic to Talk About Money on Valentine's Day
To really pitch in, Yellen has come up with five steps in fueling financial intimacy that can reduce anxiety and enable couples to "save for their dreams."
- Talk before spending without your spouse's knowledge. Yellen advise setting parameters and strongly urges couples to get ahead of any issues. "Even if you don't always agree with your partner's spending habits, you can agree that any purchase over a certain amount, such as $200, will be discussed in advance," she says.
- Go all in on your golden years. Take the long view and discuss your retirement goals regularly -- a once-a-month conversation is fine. "Discuss when you both plan to retire and your plan for getting there," she says. Yellen says that about 40% of couples who responded to a survey she produced have not discussed their retirement plans in depth.
- Be equal partners. Yellen doesn't like financial "imbalance" in a relationship. "One of the biggest traps that leads couples into financial disharmony is when the partner with the biggest income makes the major financial decisions alone," she adds. "The solution: make all decisions about major purchases together."
- Quit making the credit card companies and banks rich. Yellen says couples should generate a plan to alleviate debt and "commit together to building an emergency fund to help you weather life's unexpected costs."
- Have a "Plan B." "What's your back-up plan if things change?" Yellen asks. "What if one partner loses their job? Or what if one partner wants to go back to school? What if one of you gets a job in another part of the country? Talk it over and come up with a plan together."
The gist of good financial intimacy is this: Talk regularly, don't surprise your spouse with pricey purchases and be a team, money-wise.
Do those things and the only arrows slinging in your love nest today will be Cupid's kind.