Finding love can be exhilarating, and as a successful professional woman, it’s essential to safeguard yourself and your finances to ensure your future love can blossom rather than wither on the vine.
Humans are innately destined to share our journey with a companion. This perspective holds particularly true for those seeking new love after navigating life’s diverse roads. The key is to embrace the search for love while taking practical steps to protect yourself. Remember, it’s not about assuming everyone has ulterior motives but rather about ensuring you’re making informed choices.
Let’s explore ways to protect your heart and financial well-being, allowing you to embrace love without fear.
Be Prepared Before Cupid Strikes
Whether you’ve been widowed, divorced, or have always been single, thinking about the “what-ifs” before reaching that point of the relationship is crucial. Begin by setting yourself up for success by thoroughly understanding your financial situation. Knowing what you have empowers you to make decisions confidently that support your future once you’re under love’s spell.
Recognize Warning Signs When Under Love’s Spell
As a relationship deepens, be alert to warning signs. Watch out for partners who consistently make you pay the bill, propose joint investments, or inquire prematurely about your finances. If you ever feel stuck on how to answer, consider the following, “I appreciate your concern and know you care about me, but I’m not ready to share those details right now.” It’s lovely to be in love, but just as you likely won’t introduce a new sweetheart to your family and all your exes on a first date, financial details are something that should wait to be shared as well.
Gather With Family and Friends
Your circle of advisors and friends can be your safety net. Before you let your emotions take hold:
- Seek advice from objective sources.
- If someone in your support system notices something concerning, allow them to share their honest opinions while looking at your relationship from a different perspective.
- Introduce them to a couple of trusted family and friends and ask them afterward, “Tell me my blind spots.”
You might think, “What if my people do not like my new love?” You are the final decision maker on how you would like to take this relationship. You have nothing to lose here. When you start to seriously consider getting into a committed relationship, this is the time to lay your cards out on the table. Consider setting up meetings for the two of you with your trusted advisors and theirs: financial advisors, CPAs, lawyers, business partners, and more. Understanding each other’s situation and creating plans that support each of your needs will help open lines of communication and mitigate challenges before they arise.
Discuss a Prenup When Things Heat Up
As your love grows and things get more serious, it’s time to discuss a prenup, especially if marriage is on the horizon. Gauge your partner’s response – if the topic feels evasive or uncomfortable, listen to your gut and notice the red flag. A loving partner will be grateful you brought the topic to the table at this stage, as it supports everyone’s best interests. You can start by saying, “You have worked so hard for yourself and your children (if they have kids), and I respect that you have financial plans for you and the kids. So do I. To ensure our intended family receives what they have on either side, let’s discuss how we want our assets to be allocated in case something happens to one or both of us.”
Safeguard Your Love for the Future
Before fully committing, discuss how you plan to manage your finances openly. Understanding who pays for what in the household and agreeing on critical items in advance is essential to prevent misunderstandings. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach – whether you keep finances separate or combine them, fairness and transparency are key and crucial conversations are still necessary to align priorities and boundaries.
Here are just a few questions best to grappled before tying the knot:
- Do you pay credit cards in full or minimum payments each month?
- Do you prefer to buy or rent a home?
- How do you feel about lending money to relatives or friends? Do you have boundaries around the amount, time, or frequency?
- Do you focus on saving today and having fun later or enjoying life now and working longer?
- When you envision future trips together, do you focus on getting the best bang for your buck, or do you plan to enjoy the lap of luxury?
While I may have my opinion on the questions above, there is no right or wrong answer; it’s about how closely you and your partner are aligned. Two issues commonly top the chart as reasons for divorce: lack of commitment and arguing too much. As you can likely guess, money is one of the most common areas these issues come into play, and the solution is open and honest communication. So, for the sake of your love and your future, please ensure you align with your partner on areas critical to your success so that you can enjoy the blessings of finding the one that sparks joy in your life.
When I was a child, I heard my Mom jokingly say to my dad, “My money is my money. Your money is my money. Are you with me?” This message has stuck with me and has guided me to be in charge of my finances. She worked all her life and was a good saver. She sent both children to college outside of the country. She retired at age 58. Although she is still happily married to my Dad, going 61 years strong, she would have been okay financially if her marriage did not last. My parent’s alignment of priorities allowed them to achieve their goals while enjoying a loving relationship in both good times and challenging times.
May your love story be one for the ages, and may the memories you create together be ones you’ll treasure forever.
All the best,