Love & Money

A new study by GoBankingRates surveyed 500 adults and found 22 percent of them had lied to their partners about money. The most common thing they lied about is their spending habits. With Valentine's Day right around the corner, financial professional Dale McCarty, President of Retirement Designers Financial Group, has advice on why now is a good time to focus on your money and relationship.

1. What advice do you have for couples that may be struggling with this?
- First, it's important for couples to be honest and open with their money and finances. Each partner should know what's coming in and what's going out. It's ok if you want to have separate accounts, but you need to be honest about those accounts.
- Financial surprises can lead to potential problems down the road.
- Make time to talk about money. Sit down and build a budget. Set goals for the future. You can find a financial professional if you want help.

2. Should one person or both be in charge of the finances?
- Every couple is different. For some, it might work well to divide and conquer. So, one partner takes care of paying the bills and the other is in charge of the investments, for example. Others maybe another combination of dividing payments and responsibilities.
- At the end of the day, it's important for BOTH people to know what's going on, regardless of whether they're handling the day to day finances.

3. Valentine's Day is a popular time to get engaged. Do you have any financial tips for engaged couples?
- Yes – transparency is important! You need to be on the same page. So, make sure you're honest with each other about any debts you're bringing to the marriage/relationship.
- You really should sit down early on and talk about your needs and wants for the future. Does one partner want to be a stay at home parent? Is there debt that needs to be paid off? Then you can work on a plan together to help ensure those goals.
- Start thinking about a budget early on. – both for the potential wedding or honeymoon, as well as a budget for day to day life together.

4. Any other financial tips for couples?
- Life insurance may be something to consider when you're discussing important financial decisions with your spouse.
- Whole life insurance is a good option for some because it provides a death benefit AND may be beneficial in your retirement strategy. The policy holder can possibly take out some of the accumulated funds from the account in case of an emergency or big expense.
- I encourage everyone to check with their financial professional to see what works for your situation.