Valentine’s Day and finances: Here’s how couples approach discussing money

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It may take more than roses for romance to flourish this Valentine’s Day – many couples want to talk about their finances, too, a recent survey said.

Thirty-one percent of respondents said that they mentioned personal finances on the first date or within the first few dates, according to consumer financial app Cleo’s dating and money survey. 

Among more established relationships, 73% of couples said they discussed their finances at least once a week and 17% said they discussed finances at least once a month.

Millennials are most likely to discuss finances with their partner regularly, the survey said. By contrast, Generation X couples are twice as likely to skip open discussions about money with a partner compared to other generations.

“What looks promising is that younger generations are taking the lead by learning more about their partner’s money habits and financial goals through regular conversations, as well as taking action by using budgeting and money management apps,” Roxanne Nejad, Cleo vice president of marketing, said. “We’re excited to see that, despite the current trend of increased financial anxiety, consumers are prioritizing their financial health.”

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These financial red flags could end a relationship

Personal loans, credit card debt and lack of financial literacy were the top financial deal breakers when choosing a life partner for respondents across generations, according to a Western & Southern Financial Group survey.

Inflation and rising costs have pushed many Americans to turn to debt to make ends meet. Total credit card debt rose to a record $930.6 billion at the end of 2022, an 18.5% spike from a year earlier, according to the latest quarterly report by TransUnion. The average balance increased to $5,805 over the same period. 

Irresponsible spending and student loans were also listed among the top five financial turnoffs, the Western & Southern Financial Group survey said. The average student loan debt amount that was a deal breaker for survey respondents was over $28,000. However, a solid repayment plan could help boost confidence in their partner, the survey said. 

“Much like the issue of fidelity, being able to trust your partner to handle your assets openly and respectfully is integral to a functioning relationship,” Davidoff Hutcher & Citron partner Adam Citron said. “You may be able to get over an affair, but if someone has taken you into debt or squandered all of your marital assets, there is no getting over that. 

“You are not only building a life together, but a financial life and both parties need to be informed as well as protected for a relationship to function,” Citron continued.

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Tips to improve your financial health

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, you should be taking steps to improve the health of your finances.

“Start now getting your finances straight by focusing on the basics,” Childfree Wealth founder Jay Zigmont, Ph.D., CFP, said. “Get on a budget, get out of debt and stay out of debt. While we each have a different money situation, having the basics set will at least put you in the best place you can, given what you make.”

Here are some tips to get your finances in order so that you don’t miss out on love:

Pay off your high-interest debt

Based on the Western & Southern survey responses about people’s top deal breakers, having less high-interest debt is likely to put you in good standing when it comes to dating.  

Make a plan

As a relationship progresses, couples may opt to combine finances, including essentials, fixed expenses, travel costs and dining, according to Ameriprise Financial private wealth advisor Michelle Young.

“Ensure you have a plan in place when it comes to dividing costs based on income, outstanding debt and retirement fund allocations,” Young said.

Create a budget

Mapping out your expenses can help paint a clearer picture of how you are spending money and will prevent big surprises. Tracking what you spend can help you identify and make changes to keep your budget in check, Young said.

If you are looking for ways to reduce your monthly expenses, paying down debt could be a good place to start. A personal loan could help you consolidate your monthly payments and pay down debt at a lower interest rate. Contact Credible to speak to a loan expert to see if this is the right option for you.


Have a finance-related question, but don’t know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at [email protected] and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.

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