As Valentine’s Day approaches, many couples prepare to share their love with romantic gestures: flowers, jewelry, chocolates, lavish dinners, lingerie, etc. One thing that may not have occurred to them is to discuss something that truly matters: their finances, legal documents, and plans for the future as individuals and couples.
If you are just casually dating, you probably don’t have a need to get into the nitty-gritty of each other’s personal business, but if you are in a committed relationship it may be a good time to address how each of you views finances and future goals. You should definitely talk about money before you move in together or get married. Money is one of the top stressors in a relationship, and differences in attitudes about handling finances have lead to many breakups. You can decide in your relationship how you want to handle the cash, but regardless of who pays for what, you should be able to have open conversations about where the money is going, at least the part earmarked for shared use.
It’s also good to have some conversations about what you want in the unfortunate instance that you become incapacitated or pass away. If you are legally married, there are usually legal protections in place that allow your spouse to automatically act on your behalf. If you are not married but are living together, you may want to consider legally naming your partner as Power of Attorney and creating a will that names them as a beneficiary.
Looking into the future, one gift that says “I’ll love you forever” (that is often overlooked) is life insurance. Purchasing a life insurance policy on yourself and naming your sweetheart as beneficiary is a wonderful way to tell that person that you want them to be taken care of even after you are gone. Life insurance can be used to pay off a mortgage and final expenses, pay for children’s college tuition, and replace income or work value that is lost when a partner dies.
Consider speaking to your independent insurance agent, financial planner, and family lawyer about pursuing these valuable protections.