x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Take a tip, or even 10, from Kat on romantic values

Superwomen: "Money is not romantic," said Kat, in a matter of fact manner, "but avoid the financial discussion and the romance is bound to end eventually".

'Money is not romantic," said Kat, in a matter of fact manner, "but avoid the financial discussion and the romance is bound to end eventually."

Kat was helping Frank with his new book, providing a wise woman's view on love and money. Kat was rich, yes; successful, absolutely; and she was extremely happily married to husband number two. But she had experienced her fair share of ups and downs.

In fact, it had been Frank who had come to Kat's rescue many years ago after her messy divorce, providing her with a sound financial plan and some solid life advice. This advice, coupled with Kat's natural determination and strong work ethic, had paid her very good dividends.

"You made a lot of changes to your attitude towards money and men, didn't you Kat?" Frank said. Kat, sipping a soy latte, responded with a wry smile. "Yes, I did. After being burnt so badly by my first husband, I knew that I would never let myself feel so vulnerable again - either emotionally or financially."

Unlike her friend, Abby, Kat was more than open to another trip down the tunnel of love, and had, after all, remarried.

"Falling in love is wonderful - the best thing in the world. I don't want to take that away from anyone," she said. "But, as I've learnt, it's vital that women are aware of their own finances, their own spending and lifestyle, and their financial goals and ambitions.

"Even more importantly, they have to be willing to talk about them and communicate them, otherwise they are potentially storing up a lot of money headaches down the road."

Frank nodded enthusiastically. "That's exactly what I'm trying to convey with my book," he said. "But in my experience, women tend to dive right in and ask questions later. What would you say to them if you could offer advice?

Top tips

Ladies, when it comes to passion-killers, money is on a par with oversized pants and thoughts of cellulite. Many of us are scared to bare all when it comes to talking finances (while others just turn off the lights and jump in). Yes, you want to meet Mr Right, but you have to be in control of your own finances. Pay attention, ask questions and then dim the lights, so you know where you're going before you're in too deep.

And if you want to be financially savvy in your relationship, check Kat's 10 rules on love and money:

1 Cheap dating

Anyone can show off with an expensive meal or gift, yet something as simple as a picnic, a home-cooked dinner or a walk along the beach will let you really get to know the essence of a new beau without spending a lot of money.

2 Pay attention

Before you commit, take notice of how your partner handles and spends his money. You don't want to be a wife who has to penny pinch to survive.

3 Shared dreams

Almost everything you will do during your lives together will cost money. Discuss your dreams and goals with your partner and make sure they are compatible. If his goals are more "me" and less "we", then think seriously about your relationship for the long term.

4 Marriage and money

A man is not a financial plan. Remember a marriage involves two people and the partner who earns more does not necessarily know more. Speak up, be involved and take responsibility for your joint wealth creation. Couples that save together generally stay together.

5 Discuss the home front

Before you commit to marriage, have a discussion about leases, household expenses and other important matters. We're not suggesting lengthy pre-nuptial agreements, but a simple email clarifying your agreed financial intentions and obligations will make life easier and help to avoid costly misunderstandings down the road.

6 Make a plan

Create a workable structure for your financial lives. Identify who is responsible for organising insurance, a will and paying bills. Pinpoint where your individual goals coincide and list the steps to accomplish these. Then identify where they clash and figure out what you can live without.

7 Family planning

If you decide to stay at home while your partner works, agree a model for your finances. Perhaps the household chief executive gets a salary?

8 Learn to love budgets

Set budgets for groceries, entertainment and holidays and do your best to stick to them (there are plenty of apps for managing household finances). That way, you will both feel in control and relaxed about your finances.

9 Regular reviews

Schedule "wealth meetings" with your partner once a quarter where you discuss and track your financial situation, dreams, and goals.

10 Protect your family

Lots of things change as we leave the swinging single years behind. Once you are committed, and certainly after you have had children, you need to invest time in creating and protecting your wealth for the future security of yourself and your family.

 

Janelle Malone is a writer, blogger and commentator on personal finance. You can contact her atWomenmoneyandstyle.com