Before you start making assumptions about where this article is going, let me clarify. This piece is NOT about:
- How much cash you can afford to spend to impress your significant other
- How an elaborate and over-the-top Valentine’s Day gift can put you into debt, from flowers to something sparkling (and I don’t necessarily mean champagne)
- How to plan a getaway to an exotic location with your lover
This article is about opening the door, maybe just a nudge, to move closer to the one you love. After all, who doesn’t want to do that?
Valentine’s Day is a great way of giving your loved one a reminder of your commitment and care. How, you ask? Good question. Read on.
Let me set the scene. You and your mate are together in a comfortable, quiet, and relaxing location. The cell phones are put away and disruptions have been tamped down to the extent possible.
You look deeply into your mate’s eyes. Maybe you have music playing in the background.
You ask the question: “What do you care most about?”
(A word of advice: If the answer comes back anything that’s measured in carats or has wheels, don’t set your expectations too high.)
If the answer comes back: “You, our family, our security….” You are on track to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the most exceptional way.
So, here’s your response: “Yes, I feel the same way. But can you describe your ideal for what that looks like, so I can better see and understand your vision?”
The road has now been paved with possibilities of building an effective and meaningful path forward of financial unity and shared values guiding goals and decisions.
It is crucial that you and your partner understand and accept each other’s money mindsets.
Most people want and need safety and security. The question is, what does that mean to you?
People have different definitions that come from a variety of sources, including their own money history, their family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, advertising, social media, etc.
If you can uncover and discuss openly your thoughts, beliefs, and values, you have a significantly better chance of determining whether it’s possible to achieve your ideal and whether any changes you create can impact the outcome.
In financial planning, there are so many factors that go into a meaningful plan.
The first one is whether it is based on the values of the client (and not an unrealistic fantasy). At the focal point of decision-making are three factors:
- What you make (earn)
- What you spend
- How well you invest
The third factor is by far the least impactful and hardest to control. Let’s examine each one:
Your income: Can you control it? What is the reasonable range of earnings on which you can count?
Your spending: Some expenses are fixed and structural (like a mortgage or debt), thus these particular expenses are generally out of your control.
Other spending can be anywhere from somewhat controllable to completely discretionary.
Investment returns: Market cycles, inflation, corrections, recessions, asset allocation, your ability to withstand volatility, and your ability to make good decisions all impact your investment returns.
Too many people set their risk tolerance based on the current markets, which inevitably leads to mistakes.
It is vital to work with a trustworthy expert who has your best interest in mind and will help you reach your financial goals.
Setting your values at the apex of your plan allows you to make decisions that are meaningful, real, and aim your decisions on your definition of security, success, and happiness.
That sounds a lot like love to me.
As you gear up for a day of celebrating the love in your life, include a conversation that comes from your heart.
Let each one of you draw a picture of your life that is sustaining, meaningful, loving, satisfying, and based on what you each care most about.
It’s a lovely Valentine to hold and cherish. Celebrate, ask questions, listen, and discuss what makes life so sweet, so meaningful, and important. It will carry you well beyond the 14th.