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  • For the love of money…and Valentine’s Day

    What a wonderful weekend!  It has been snowing almost every day making it a perpetual winter wonderland.  Yesterday, I had an awesome volleyball play, a nice massage and pedicure topped with a birthday dinner/drinks with a good friend.  I also booked my first ski trip out west!

    Today is my day.  No commitments on my time.  I pick and choose what to fill it with.  I started with a spin class, lunch was my favorite salmon dish, which the restaurant makes special for me since it is no longer on the menu, and now it is time to focus on the book. 

    Usually, my blog is written at the end of the day, but my inspiration is hitting me earlier.  I am thinking ahead to Valentine’s Day.   I struggle with this holiday whether I am single or in a relationship.  It just seems like so much pressure to make it super special/romantic.  Therefore, I want to change that tradition/pressure.    I want to challenge people (couples and singles) to look at it differently.

    If you are part of a couple, consider using this day to commit to each other financial happiness, responsibility, and working as a team on your financial goals.  I remember when I was married, we were poor and we did not have a strategy or really any kind of goals set up to work on things together.  If I could go back in time, I would have Valentine’s Day be the day we focused on what we wanted as a couple.  I can envision a nice dinner with the conversation geared towards discussing taking a romantic trip next year on Valentine’s Day to Tahiti.  If our dream trip is going to cost us $5,000 well that means that we need to set aside $416.66 a month as a couple so we can reach our goal.    Maybe we want to buy a bigger house and we need to come up with $10,000 of additional equity.  As a couple we need to begin focusing on make this a priority and what is a realistic time frame?  Even better yet, this is the year that we hire a financial planner to help us achieve our goals.

     Another piece of the conversation I would make with my now ex-husband are money boundaries.  I think that all couples should have three checking accounts.   The primary account is where all paychecks are deposited and this pot of money is where you pull out the $416.66 for your joint savings goal, pay bills (mortgage, utilities, daycare etc.).  Lastly, the primary account would transfer money to the personal HIS/HERs accounts.  These accounts are the “mad” money.  The amount of money you send to these accounts can be equal or different.  The importance is that you are in agreement.  The HIS/HERs accounts are important for financial sanity.  From these pots of money you buy what you want such as lunches out, gas, coffee etc.   For example, if one of you likes to buy lots of shoes and the other has a need to buy fishing lures, as long as it comes from this pot of cash no explanation needs to occur. 

    Lastly, you need to create a “no breach” spending limit.  You do this by defining what dollar amount threshold requires agreement between you.  For example, if Betty wants to buy a sofa for $5,000 and she and Bob had an agreed on spending threshold of $500 that means she cannot just go out and buy it without an agreement from Bob.  If she does, she will disrespect Bob, which will have a negative impact on their relationship. 

    As a single person, go out and celebrate with your friends.  Take this day to commit to teaching your kids or someone young in your family about money.  Last year I made a conscious decision to being teaching my niece Paige about money.   Since she lives in St Louis, this is harder for me to do, but a small step is better than no step.  So I decided to send her $10 a month on the first of EVERY month so she gets used to consistency.  Since I started doing this she had to open a savings account to cash/deposit the check.  I also give her little to-dos such as reading a money book, giving her father $2 for taxes, or simply buy a stranger coffee.  This year on her birthday she is going to get a $1 raise Discover More.   If I can give her the passion and understanding of money so she will be financially independent and smart with money in the future, I have given her one of life’s greatest gifts.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

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