Financial Compatibility

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(KTVI) – Forget roses and chocolates, give your Valentine sweetie a gift that matters: an honest discussion about finances.  It’s one of the leading causes of conflict in marriages. 

Doug Kiffmeyer is the president of the Modern Retirement Professionals Group, and brought some good advice about talking with your partner and planning for financial future.

Many couples fail to talk about debt, spending habits, and their salaries.

Q:  How can people test their financial compatibility?

A:  There are five key areas you should discuss.  You don`t have to be the same on every topic, but knowing how you differ or how you were raised can lead to increased understanding, and that`s key.

1.  Debt

Debt is a huge issue.   Many young people have student debt.  Older people looking at marriage may have medical bills or other debt.  Don`t hide it!  Financial secrets can ruin a marriage.  Make sure you`re honest so that together you can develop a plan to reduce your debt burden.

2.  Spending Habits

In many relationships you have a spender and a saver.  One person might like to shop while their spouse wants save for a rainy day.  When two people with vastly different spending habits get married, conflict is bound to happen unless you make a pact with your spouse that no major spending will take place unless both agree.

3.  Budget

Every family should have a budget to make sure they`re staying on track and staying honest with each other.  According to a survey by SELF DOT COM, 56 percent of women and 37 percent of men admit that they have lied about money to their spouse.  Financial infidelity can damage a relationship just like infidelity.

4.  Financial Responsibility

Couples need to work together to determine who will be responsible for what financial duties.  One person may like paying bills while the other person hates it.  Or maybe both feel the same way, and they need to take turns.  What`s important is deciding who will do what financial chore, and also making sure that both people feel like they`re part of a team and are working together to achieve their mutual financial goals.

5.  Investing

Some people are comfortable with risk, some are risk-averse.  So knowing your comfort level and that of your partner is key when it comes to investing.

Q.  What if people look at these topics and realize they`re worlds apart?

A.  Don`t worry if you don`t see eye-to-eye on everything.  It`s not a deal breaker.  But it may be time to bring in an objective third party to help you out. I`ve been a part of many of these conversations.

Take an online test which includes questions about real-life scenarios and how you and your other half would react: Financial Compatibility Quiz

Find out more: Modern Retirement Professionals Group