Relationships: Can love and money mix?
By the U of A Cooperative Extension Service
- Couples need to assess own, partner’s financial behavior
- Differing attitudes don’t have to be relationship killers
- More info: http://www.uaex.edu/life-skills-wellness/personal-finance/life-stages-events/couples.aspx.
LITTLE ROCK – When it comes to tying the knot, couples need to be sure that love and money can mix.
According to a survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education and YourTango.com: 69 percent of Americans say they spend more money while in a relationship versus when they are single. (See: “How much does love drive spending?,” NEFE, http://www.nefe.org/press-room/news/how-much-does-love-drive-spending.aspx)
For couples, who spends how much and on what can often be a major stressor in a young relationship, said Laura Connerly, assistant professor for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, who specializes in financial education.
“It’s a good idea for couples to be on the same page with their money values,” she said. “Couples spend more money on entertainment, travel, gifts, and grooming/personal care.”
According to the NEFE/YourTango.com survey, nearly 30 percent of respondents spent at least $100 a month on expenses related to the relationship compared to when they were not in a relationship.
“This might sound good but it can lead to trouble in paradise,” Connerly said. “Do you love it that he spends extravagantly for special dates? Do you worry that he’s running up his credit card bill? Does it make you feel adored that she buys little gifts for you every week? Would you feel better if she used extra income to pay off student loans?”
Before couples co-mingle finances, they should ask themselves and each other some key questions, including:
- Are you a saver and your love interest is a spender?
- Do you value security and want to build a big nest egg while your partner is a financial risk taker?
“Differing values aren’t the kiss of death for a relationship but you should become aware and take steps to compromise,” Connerly said. “With compassion and smart money management skills you can build a solid financial plan together.”
Learn more and take NEFE’s Life Values quiz at Smart about Money: http://www.smartaboutmoney.org/Tools-Resources/LifeValues-Quiz.aspx
Whether newlyweds or a long-established couple, the Financial Smart Start for Newlyweds fact sheet series can help you find ways to eliminate money stress. The fact sheets are available at: http://www.uaex.edu/life-skills-wellness/personal-finance/life-stages-events/couples.aspx.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service