Spending money won't buy happiness in relationshipFebruary is the month of love, when couples renew their commitment to each other by buying chocolate hearts and flower bouquets. But spending money is not the answer to a long relationship. In fact, not being able to spending a lot of money could help a relationship grow stronger.
By: Dan Serra, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
February is the month of love, when couples renew their commitment to each other by buying chocolate hearts and flower bouquets. But spending money is not the answer to a long relationship. In fact, not being able to spending a lot of money could help a relationship grow stronger.
Couples who develop a budget together and agree on how the money is spent are more likely to understand that love comes from the heart, not the wallet. These couples understand that time together is what is most important.
Other couples who are suffering through tough financial times also grow stronger by working together to survive. A recent survey found 38 percent of couples said recessionary times can prevent a divorce or separation, according to the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. And 29 percent said the recent recession deepened their commitment.
It is unfortunate that it takes a recession to make couples realize how important it is to work together toward successful financial planning. Acting as a team, a couple should plan on how to handle both prosperous economic times and deteriorating financial conditions. This way, the couple knows ahead of time what to expect when things aren't going right, and more importantly how not to get carried away and forget about saving for the bad times when the money is flowing.
Key points that couples should plan ahead of time include:
—Whether to keep separate bank accounts or merge into a joint account;
—How to pay off debt and avoid debt;
—How to avoid overspending and how to discuss how to avoid surprising each other with expenses;
—How to discuss money secrets so that the other half can help solve issues or avoid disputes;
—How much to save for emergencies and what those emergencies could be.
Working together as a couple not only bodes well for the relationship, but the nation.
"Research shows that marriage makes people happier, live longer, and build more economic security. Children with married parents perform better in school (and) have less trouble with the law, less teen pregnancy and fewer issues with addiction," said Sheila Weber, executive director of National Marriage Week USA, an effort to promote the benefits of marriage.