On Valentine’s Day, be sure to spend time with your loved ones. Give them a box of chocolates, a bouquet of roses or just have a nice meal together.
The day after, though, once the cheesy, romantic gestures are over and done with, it’s time to get serious. Settle down with another glass (or bottle) of wine and talk to your partner about their financial fitness.
The topic can be tricky but the easiest way to start is to share your number. Not your phone number—your credit score.
According to Ratehub, around 73% of Canadians believe their credit score is ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ but only 42% say they actually know the number.
And your spouse could be one of the many that thinks they know their score—but in reality could be way off. If you don’t know your credit score, Ratehub has a free tool that will tell you (without impacting your score in any way).
Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, you’ll want to have a financial game plan that addresses the outcomes of your credit score numbers. You could both be financially responsible, which is great—or you could have some skeletons in your closet that suddenly make an appearance.
The best way to sort this out—and air out the dirty laundry—is to talk to a third party. Consider having a talk with a professional, like a fee-for-service planner, who will help you set your goals in a neutral setting.
Whether you’re just starting your financial journey together, or even if it’s already well underway, you may be noticing money habit differences between the two of you that are causing friction. Now might be time to consider if you’re even financially compatible at all, and whether that’s a deal-breaker for you. It’s serious stuff, which is why we told you to wait until V-day is over.
If you find that loads of debt, late payments and bad spending habits is baggage you can’t deal with, maybe it’s time to cut your partner loose. If these things bother you but you think they’re simply stressors that you can conquer, there are four steps you can take to help ease the tension.
You can stop focusing on money, respect your differences, commit to change, and set up money dates to stay on track.
Your darling’s debt load might feel like a lot but that doesn’t mean you have to ditch them. It all depends on what you think is manageable. Just know that with commitment, their financial problems are yours too, and you can certainly help. As long as you have a plan to stick to, you communicate well together, and are able to stay on the same page, in theory, you should be fine.
Just remember—love may be in the air in February but before you succumb to Cupid’s arrow, you might want to check if it’s going to deflate your finances, too.