The All-Important Gift of Communication about Financial Values
It’s time to celebrate relationships, love and commitment—and it won’t be cheap. U.S. consumers plan to spend more than $18 billion this Valentine’s Day, with the average person spending around $136 according to the National Retail Federation. What often is overlooked when couples take time out to appreciate each other is dedicating a moment to discuss money and financial values, a conversation couples should have.
Starting the Conversation Couples Should Have on Valentine’s Day
“Money is a potential conflict point in a relationship, but it also can be something that draws a couple closer,” says Ted Beck, president and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®). “Couples should talk openly, and often, about money and should understand their partners’ financial values.”
Starting the conversation is easy with NEFE’s research-based, non-commercial consumer quizzes. The Life Values Quiz is a 20-question assessment that helps people identify their values and understand how those values affect the financial decisions they make. This is especially useful for couples, helping them identify how their money values are alike or different, and spotlight the areas they need to work on together.
“You can’t change inherent values, but if you know what they are, you’ll be better equipped to negotiate future financial decisions and understand where you can and can’t compromise,” says Beck.
Online Resources to Help
If you’re young or just starting to emerge from your parents’ support, start with the Financial Identity Quiz. It’s a first look at where you’re headed on the path to financial independence, how dependent you are on your parents’ teachings, and whether you’re taking initiative to develop your own financial management style or are just focused on other things at the moment.
“Whether earning money or spending it, your financial decisions affect your relationship, and you will be the beneficiary—or victim—of your mate’s financial behavior,” warns Beck. “So it’s better to confront and understand your financial compatibility sooner rather than later.”
In relationships without frequent communication and transparency, financial infidelity is a serious problem. Two in five people who combine finances with their partner or spouse admit to committing financial deceptions—hiding or lying about purchases, bills, debts, how much they earn, bank accounts and cash, according to a NEFE survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults.
“Invite your partner to join you in taking the Life Values Quiz and the Financial Identity Quiz and have some fun with the discovery process. There are no wrong answers, just different approaches,” says Beck.
For more tips on working together as a couple to handle finances and starting that awkward conversation about money, visit www.smartaboutmoney.org.
Understanding your financial values and how they differ from those of your partner is one key to success in managing money together as a couple. NEFE’s Life Values Quiz helps people identify the values that drive their financial decisions. To learn more and to take the quiz, visit www.smartaboutmoney.org/Tools/LifeValues-Quiz.
As we make the transition from our teenage years into adulthood, we begin to define who we are in relation to our friends, relatives and cultural influences. The goal of this quiz is to help you understand the process through which you come to your financial identity, as well as how your identity shifts and changes over time. To learn more and to take the quiz, visit www.smartaboutmoney.org/Tools/Financial-Identity.
The NEFE financial infidelity survey is conducted every two years and examines overall trust issues within couples who are combining or have combined their finances in a current or past relationship. It describes the types of financial deceptions that often are committed—from hiding money, purchases and bank accounts to lying about the amount of debt owed or money earned. To read more about the survey, click here.
About the National Endowment for Financial Education
NEFE is a nonprofit foundation that inspires empowered financial decision making for individuals and families through every stage of life. For more information, visit www.nefe.org.