Couples, it's time to have the "talk" before the "talk."
By the first talk, we mean the all-important finances talk. The second talk is the big commitment -- the big engagement, which, for many couples, will happen this Valentine's Day.
Debt expert and Debt Sucks author Ja'Net Adams walks through key steps to prioritize both love and money to yield a happily ever after.
"Valentine's Day is the second-biggest holiday where people become engaged," Adams said. "Many people think all you need is love to get by, and maybe that is true in most situations, but when it comes to money, it is not true at all."
She has three key tips:
- Sit down and lay out the numbers
"You are now one step closer to being married, and that means you are one step closer to marrying your money and any debt you have together. You don't want to get to the big day and not know how the two of you are going to handle money issues. That is a sure way you will have money fights in the future."
- Decide what's more important
"Many people think about how can I make this the best day of my life, and in the meantime they forget that there are days after that day, and you have to financially plan for those as well. You should think about do you want to spend a lot of money on a wedding or have an unforgettable honeymoon? Take it a step further and think about what would you rather use the money for? A down payment on a house?"
- Practice before the big day
"Maybe on this Valentine's Day, you are nowhere near being engaged. You still are able to practice financial responsibility. Think about your future goals that you have planned out for this year and how it is going to take money to achieve them. If you think about the money you will need, you may think twice about an overpriced dinner, flowers, gifts and a movie."