By Claudia Buck
The Sacramento Bee.
Valentine’s Day is all about hearts, flowers, chocolate, maybe some bling. What it’s typically not about: credit cards, credit scores and anything as crass as cash.
Except lately. Whether it’s because recession-rattled consumers are still focused on their bottom lines or whether personal finance experts are trying to capitalize on Valentine-y sentiments, there’s been lots of attention recently on romance and money.
“Love and money cannot be separated,” said Gail Cunningham, spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in Washington, D.C. Because money is “intertwined with just about everything we do, it can impact a relationship, even before it gets off the ground.”
With Feb. 14 just days away, we thought it’d be romantically responsible to share a few gems:
MONEY HEART-TO-HEARTS: Too many couples never talk seriously about their finances. Financial experts say that’s a major mistake, whether it’s a new romance or a years-long marriage.
“It really is an act of love to share your finances with your significant other,” the NFCC’s Cunningham said. “The more you’re on the same page (financially), the less trouble you’ll have down the road.”
Without a clear financial picture, the first time you go together to rent an apartment, buy a car or take out a home loan, it could be potentially embarrassing, and costly. If one partner has an iffy credit history, it likely will mean much higher interest rates or even having a loan denied.
Schedule a time for a serious talk in a casual setting, Cunningham suggested.
For new couples, it could be looking together at income (yes, bring out the pay stubs, she said), existing debt (credit cards, car loans, etc.), investments and even credit reports. Being honest about your financial past and current situation can put a relationship on a healthy financial footing.