There are different ways that a person can show they love their families. Not everyone feels comfortable verbally expressing feelings. It is important for families to be aware that expressing love has many forms. Some people use words, some offer gifts, some show their love by staying up late at night perched at the window waiting for you to come home. One of the ways that people may express their love for one another is how they manage their finances towards their future relationship goals.
When I coach couples about to get married or who have the intent of become life partners, one of the areas I cover with them is the exploration of their compatible values, including their financial vales. It is important that couples who are planning to build a future together, which may include planning to have children together (or coming to terms with how they will jointly raise any existing children from previous relationships) also talk about financial planning for their futures as well.
Planning to have children together? I get the couple to talk about a possible education fund, or the possibility of a trust fund. Some couples feel that it is a good idea, while others might feel that it is best to let their children earn and pay for their own education after high school. Not everyone has the same financial value system, and it is important to know if the person you want to build a future with has similar financial values than you do.
Some people make home ownership a goal and thus make saving for a down payment very important, while others prefer to rent as a means of supporting the interests of their lifestyle. Again, the issue is not about which set of values are appropriate or inappropriate, but whether you and your future life partner have similar and compatible financial values.
A fun game I have couples play together is the 5 Million-Dollar Question. I ask each individual in a couple to write down what they would do with their first million, their second million, their third million, their fourth million and their fifth million. The money could be from an earned income, a lottery win, an inheritance…that part does not matter. What is key is that each person must write what he or she would do with the money as it came in, IN THE ORDER they would allocate the money.
The point of this game is to find out if the couples are financially compatible with their financial values. A person whose first plan for the incoming first million is to quit their job and go on an unplanned trip around the world (buying clothes and other necessities as needed) has a very different value system than the person who would first immediately pay off all debts. Again, this is not to judge the financial values of every person. It is about exploring if the person you plan to build a future with has similar and compatible financial values.
One thing is for certain. The effects of incompatible financial values on the future of a relationship is no game at all.
Frank Kermit, MA, is an Expert Dating-and-Relationship Coach. Learn more about what Frank can do for you at www.franktalks.com