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Jill On Money: Super Bowl sweethearts

Jill Schlesinger on

Sometimes it’s tough to write about personal finance and make it fresh, but the intersection of a high-profile relationship as Valentine’s Day rapidly approaches, is just the ticket!

In fact, when Taylor Swift kissed boyfriend Travis Kelce to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory in the AFC championship game, my mind wandered and I thought: If they were to get married, would they sign a prenuptial agreement? (Yes) Would they keep their own money managers? (Probably) Would they combine some of their accounts? (Maybe)

All kidding aside, these are questions that many couples ask themselves, especially as people are getting married later in life.

Forty years ago, the median age at first marriage was 25.4 for men and 22.8 for women. Compare that with 2023, when it was 30.2 and 28.4, respectively. (Our Super Bowl Sweethearts are 34.)

Those extra years mean that couples begin their marriages with well-established patterns and habits about money, for better — and sometimes, for worse.

Maybe the later in life couples have already been living together, but even so, it’s always a good idea to check in with each other about your approach to money.

 

As every long-lasting couple will tell you, communication is the key. Still, it is challenging to have conversations about finances without judgment, so maybe the best way to start is to acknowledge that everyone carries some emotional baggage about money.

Maybe there is shame, or fear and anxiety, or maybe money represents some family of origin feelings (“my parents always exerted control through money” or “my parents worked so hard to get me here, so I can’t let them down”).

These conversations are not curative, but they are meant to help your partner better understand you and hopefully, allow you to better understand yourself. It will also help you articulate your financial goals, which will shift over time.

After the emotional conversation, the next part should be a breeze! The actual exchange of information should include: the amount of money each of you earns; how much you have saved or invested; your risk tolerance; your outstanding debt and your credit scores.

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