This is a guest blog from Green Business Network member Longwave Financial.
Love is in the air, and while hearts flutter, finances can often be a cause of stress and concern for couples in all stages of life. As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can share a personal reflection on the intersection of love, money, and values. Recently engaged myself, my partner Taylor and I have embarked on an exhilarating journey, not just into wedding planning, but also into candid discussions about our shared financial future. We’ve found ourselves navigating the delicate balance between love and the reality of financial responsibility. It's been a revelation, exploring how our shared values shape our financial aspirations.
These conversations inspired me to curate our best financial tips to people of all ages, because whether you’re in the bloom of youth, navigating adulthood together, or savoring the golden years, making sound decisions around your money can ensure a lifetime of financial harmony.
For the younger lovebirds: Build your financial foundation
- Communicate and plan together: Openly discuss your financial goals, savings plans, and investments. Communication is key for any couple, and being on the same page with your money will strengthen both your relationship and financial wellbeing.
- Define your investing priorities: One of you may agitate for social justice while the other may want to take a strong stand against fossil fuels. Both of you may want to put investment dollars towards corporate transparency. The best way to be aligned about the “how” is by discussing the “why” and identifying areas of common ground. You can have an annual “state of the (financial) union” meeting to review and adjust if needed.
- Start investing early: Getting a head start on your investing journey can make a meaningful impact on your financial future. Take advantage of the "snowball effect" of compounding interest and impact by investing in ESG-focused index funds or ETFs as early as you can. Since your returns and impact not only grow on your original investment but also on the accumulating earnings, time and consistency work for you.
- Budget wisely: Track your expenses jointly and cultivate mindful spending habits that fit into your budget and align with your values. Make a shared effort to engage with local businesses, second-hand item platforms, and ethical brands.
For the seasoned romantics: Solidify your financial stability
- Establish an emergency fund: Life often throws the unexpected our way. Setting aside 3-6 months-worth of expenses in a community bank or credit union can put your mind at ease in case of an unexpected expense.
- Plan ahead: Strategize for life’s pivotal moments – retirement, your children’s education, and future healthcare costs – utilize tax-advantaged accounts like 401(k) plans, 529 plans, and Health Savings Accounts to optimize your savings in a way that aligns with your long-term goals.
- Have protection in place: As you enter your prime earning years, it’s important to protect yours and your loved ones’ financial wellbeing. Consider reviewing your insurance coverage – life, health, and disability – to safeguard your nest egg in the case of unforeseen circumstances.
For the boundless soulmates: Preserve your financial serenity
- Have a spending plan in place: The first time you no longer receive a paycheck after retirement can be a real shock to most people. When you start to rely on your investments for income, determine how much you can take out of your retirement accounts each year to ensure your money lasts as long as you do. Consider factors like life expectancy, healthcare expenses, philanthropic goals and your desired lifestyles together. Sticking to an annual withdrawal plan can allow for a secure financial future.
- Stay vigilant of healthcare costs: Healthcare expenses can be a significant burden during your retirement. Review your Medicare coverage and consider supplemental plans to fill any gaps. It’s also important to stay proactive about your health and wellness to minimize potential impacts of medical expenses in the future.
- Plan with purpose: Estate planning starts to become top of mind as you get older. If you haven’t already, engage with an estate attorney to draft documents like your will, power of attorney, and healthcare proxy, so your legacy follows your wishes without interruption.
In every stage of life, weaving love with a financially responsible lifestyle adds a beautiful melody to life’s journey. Whether you are embarking on budding romances, enduring partnerships, or cherishing timeless connections, embracing an open dialogue around your finances can enrich your lives and relationships. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Brennen is a financial advisor at Longwave Financial, with offices in NYC and the Hudson Valley, and clients throughout the country. He prides himself on his innate attention to detail, empathy, and professionalism to deliver exceptional service to clients. An ideal day for Brennen is one spent outdoors; some of his favorite activities include hiking, fly fishing, and the occasional round of golf. As a native of the Hudson Valley who grew up swimming in the river, Brennen developed an interest in sustainability. This motivated him to complete his ESG certification through Columbia Business School Executive Education, to learn how impact investing can drive change. Combined with his Certified Financial Planner™ designation, Brennen supports clients in making financial life decisions through the prism of their values.
Investments are subject to risk, including the loss of principal. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria is based on a set of non-financial principles in addition to financial principles used to evaluate potential investments. The incorporation of non-financial principles (i.e. social, environmental, political) can factor heavily into the security selection process. The investment’s social or environmental focus may limit the investment options available to the investor. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Additional advisory services offered through Longwave Financial LLC are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth.
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