Don't succumb to the debt of love

Image: 123RF/ kritchanut

The month of February has fewer days than all the months of year. It is, however, the busiest in terms of various events and activities.

By the time you read this column we would have been exposed to the State of the Nation Address, otherwise known as Sona.

On February 20 the minister of finance is scheduled to deliver the national budget speech. And then there will the famous Valentine's Day taking place on Thursday.

Valentine's Day is always a special time. Whether in a long- term relationship, a hopeful couple or just friends, this is a day for celebrating the special people in your life. Embroiled in love and romance, this is a day for enjoying each other's company to the fullest. However, when the night is over and reality comes back, make sure you haven't succumbed to the debt of love.

It is those couples (married or not) who are financially compatible who will not regret celebrating this day. Financial compatibility is crucial for your relationship.

It's commonly said that opposites attract. This is not always the case when it comes to financial matters. Imagine a relationship where one is a careless spender, and the other is a saver.

When love brings the two together financial compatibility is one of the most important things to consider.

So, how do you know if you are financially compatible with your partner?

  • Your financial goals are aligned - It wouldn't get the two of you anywhere if you have different priorities.
  • If your partner wants to buy a house first before marriage and you want that wedding ring placed on your finger before having a roof over your head, then this may create some challenges.
  •  Joint accounts are not a problem - If you have no problem with joint accounts, then it's a sign that you trust your partner that he or she will take good care of your own money as you do.
  • You don't have any secret bank accounts - If you're good with credit and debit, you could actually get away with opening a secret bank account. But isn't that like keeping something from your partner? Maybe, maybe not. If this makes you feel guilty, perhaps it's not a great idea to have a secret bank account.
  •  Long-term goals - Do you have common goals? These goals may depend on how old you are, but it is still a good idea to have a general idea of what each person wants to achieve down the track as it could affect your finances.

For example, at what age do you want to retire? Do you want to build an investment portfolio? At what age do you want to be free of debt?

If you find that you and your partner are not like-minded financially, this doesn't mean your relationship is doomed to fail. If you are willing to work together, it is possible to make your relationship stronger financially. To properly work as a team, you must have the same goals in mind. Work together to come up with and find ways to accomplish those goals.

Always encourage each other and build each other up. Be aware of your own weaknesses and strengths, and play off the strengths of your partner to bring synergy to what you are trying to accomplish.

Final thoughts

Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate, not to damage your future finances, so use your money wisely to have the best possible day or night with someone special.

Spend money on experience rather than on things. Rather than trying to spread your finances thin in search of the perfect night, try to create your own special evening exactly as you want it.

- Sekese is a certified financial planner professional and member of the Financial Planning Institute (www.fpi.co.za)

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