Money Management Tips for KC Sweethearts

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to discuss financial future

KANSAS CITY, Kan., Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day as tokens are exchanged between couples for the sake of St. Valentine. This year instead of the traditional cards, candy and flowers, opt for a present that could leave a lasting, positive effect on your relationship. Money management. It’s one topic frequently ignored and can cause turmoil in any relationship.

Fighting about finances is a problem in many relationships. According to a study conducted by Money Magazine, 13 percent of couples say they fight about money several times a month. “Agreeing on certain points financially can establish guidelines, direct actions and hopefully prevent future disagreements,” says Scott Malone, Senior Vice President, M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group.  “Worrying about individual finances is a strain by itself, and throwing another person’s financial habits into the mix can sometimes be overwhelming.

Malone suggests four financial topics that every couple should discuss:

  • Budget: Establishing a budget for certain monthly items like dining out, entertainment purchases, and grocery spending can help make future arguments disappear. At least once a month, there should be a regular “budget night” where you and your partner get together to discuss your joint financial status. You can review spending and savings activities, and then make financial adjustments and decisions together.
  • Prior Debt: Coming into a relationship, you or your partner may have student loans, a car loan, credit cards, overdraft lines of credit, etc. Cash flow can be greatly affected by previously accumulated debt. Additionally, a big influence on your financial health as a couple is the way you each handle your debt obligations. Knowing your partner’s credit history can offer a glimpse into the future. If either or both of you have had problems making payments in the past, that can have a negative impact on your ability to rent an apartment, get a joint loan, and will result in higher rates charged by utility and insurance companies. Developing a plan to improve upon past mistakes can remove a lot of strain from your relationship.
  • Savings Goals: Whether you want to save for a trip around the world or want to put money in your 401(k), financial goals need to be established up front. For most, the top three financial goals include buying a home, saving for retirement and building up an education savings account. Making your wishes known to your partner can help the two of you establish a financial plan that incorporates what is important to both of you.
  • Major Purchases: Be open and honest about major purchases. Simply discussing a purchase beforehand can save you from a potential fight.

Financials do not have to become a stress point within a relationship, so this Valentine’s Day say “I love you” with a thoughtful conversation about finances.  By discussing financial topics and handling resources as a team, managing money as a couple can be a little easier.

About BMO Harris Bank N.A.

Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through approximately 700 branches and approximately 1,350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida.  BMO Harris Bank’s commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S.  Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC.  BMO Harris Bank(SM) and M&I® and Harris® are trade names used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.

SOURCE M&I a part of BMO Financial Group

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