People are willing to do a lot for someone they love such as try new things, change their style, and even relocate. However, what are they willing to do for their money? Sometimes it can be misplaced, torn up, abandoned, left unprotected, and even thrown away on insignificant things. What if you treated your money as special as you would treat someone you love? Things you may do are…
Make Time For It
When you love someone, you may hang out more and more and structure your day around him or her. How much time do you take for your finances though? Try carving out some time in your day or week to:
- Monitor and tweak your budget (i.e. https://www.mint.com)
- Assess your savings and debt situation
- Review your credit (i.e. https://www.creditkarma.com)
- Evaluate your financial goals1
- Educate yourself on personal financial management (i.e. https://www.saltmoney.org)
Just like relationships, your money can flourish if you put in the time to get to know it and make a point to include it in your everyday living.
Show It What It’s Worth
You may buy flowers or gifts, go out to a nice dinner, and even spoil each other to outwardly show your love and communicate your significant others’ worth to you. However, the cumulative cost of junk food, drinks at the bar, bank fees, and other spending that will seem insignificant further down the road when you’re going to purchase a new car, have a child, or retire. Instead, show money its worth through:
- Smart shopping (i.e. sales, coupons, and discounts)
- Memorable spending (i.e. experiences in place of material goods)2
- Mindful prioritization (i.e. saving for a coffee maker later instead of a cup of coffee now)
As relationships progress, your significant other becomes a bigger and more important part of your life. This may lead to changes in how you structure your day, the traditions you create, and the sacrifices you make for the betterment of the relationship. Likewise, your financial priorities change throughout life and become more and more necessary in order for you to accomplish your financial goals. Some current wants may need to be cut back in to make room for saving up for more special wants (i.e. vacation) and future needs (i.e. house payment). Steps to prioritizing your spending to enhance your financial relationship:
- Brainstorm financial goals
- Make your goals SMART3
- Specific (what why and how)
- Measurable (set dollar amounts)
- Attainable (realistic)
- Relevant (fits with bigger picture and your other goals)
- Timely (set dates)
- Calculate how to achieve your goals
- Tweak current budget and spending accordingly
- Find an accountability partner
We want to do everything to protect the one we love both physically as well as emotionally from any pain. Sometimes, life happens and we do the best we can to build back up and heal. There are many ways to protect your money such as having an emergency savings to cover unexpected expenses and prevent debt or outrageous interest costs as well as consistently monitoring for identity theft and bank fraud. Emergency savings should have 3-6 months’ worth of money in a relatively easily-accessible account to cover such things as medical bills, car repairs, or a loss of job. You can monitor your credit through pulling a credit report at least every 4 months (https://www.annualcreditreport.com) and can protect from bank fraud by review your bank statements and utilizing credit card EMV technology when you can4.
Be Patient With It
Rushing into things can sometimes end up bad and sometimes the best things in life take time and hard work. Your money probably won’t grow overnight (barring lottery winnings and surprise inheritance), so you’ll need to be patient with it and continue to nurture it. Interest rates are most beneficial over time and frequent changes in investments may not pay off. The market changes every minute, but despite dips and turns, a lot of investments pay off if you are patient and wait out the lows.
So you’ve spent some time together, you’ve gotten to know him or her more, and you’ve decided that he or she is worth prioritizing. The next natural step is to decide whether you want to stay together in the future and beyond. Rather than staying focused on the present, you may make a commitment for the long-haul. Similarly, this may be something beneficial to do with your finances. Picture your life with it in the future and what you want that to look like. You’ve mastered saving for emergencies and upcoming trips, now what about for retirement or future children’s educational expenses? These decisions come with more of a commitment due to the limitations on their spending, but can be truly beneficial in the future should you follow through on the commitment. Time is your greatest ally in the realm of saving and investing.
Peer Counselor III
Powercat Financial Counseling