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Love and Money: LIFE Foundation Offers Seven Financial Tips for Couples in Time for Valentine’s Day
Arlington, VA – February 12, 2008 – Valentine’s Day provides couples with a reason to shell out for roses, chocolate or jewelry. But if you are engaged, newly married or even preparing to celebrate a milestone anniversary, the best way to express your love on Valentine’s Day may be with a conversation—about long-term financial goals. This February, the nonprofit Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) offers seven financial tips that can be followed any time during the year to put couples on the path to long-term financial bliss.
“Talking about finances with your fiancé, spouse or partner may not seem like the most romantic topic, but what better way is there to show your loved one how committed you are to a lifetime of happiness together,” says Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation. “Use Valentine’s Day to talk about your long-term financial goals and how you plan to go about achieving them together.”
In the spirit of the approaching holiday, the non-profit LIFE Foundation offers the following seven financial tips for couples:
Have "the talk" – Tell each other where your key financial information (like checking, savings, and investment accounts, mortgages, insurance, etc.), and important non-financial information and valuables (like birth/marriage certificates, titles/deeds for house/cars, jewelry, safe deposit key, etc.) are located. It’s important to understand each other’s financial dreams and plans, so that you know exactly what to do in any unforeseen situation.
Meld Your Financial Responsibilities – While your chemistry may be great as a couple, take steps to make sure your finances mesh well together too. Avoid unnecessary arguments or confusion down the road by determining upfront your spending and saving habits, whether you’ll open a joint checking account and if the responsibility of paying the bills will fall to one person or be handled together. The key is clear communication with one another.
Contribute to an emergency savings fund – A financial rainy day is never in the forecast, so it’s important to always have at least six months worth of income in a savings account, or money market fund, which can pay for the unexpected.
Get life insurance – If you have someone who depends on you financially, you need life insurance. According to LIMRA International, today’s average married couple has less than half the amount of life insurance coverage experts recommend. For husbands, it’s just enough to replace their income for just 4.2 years and for wives for 4.9 years. Adequate life insurance coverage provides peace of mind, knowing the ones you love will be financially secure when you die. For an estimate of how much life insurance you need, visit www.lifehappens.org/lifecalculator.
Evaluate disability insurance needs – According to the LIFE Foundation, 70% of working adults say they could only afford to take off one month or less of unpaid vacation before everyday expenses would force them to return to work, but reality is, nearly one out of every three workers over the age of 30 will suffer a disability lasting three months or more at some point in their career. Your ability to work and earn an income is one of your greatest assets and must be protected to ensure added financial strain doesn’t fall on your household. To figure out how much disability insurance you may need, check out www.lifehappens.org/disabilitycalculator.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way – If you’re married, now’s the time to put in place a will, which specifies how one’s estate will be managed after death and designates executors, guardians and trustees. And don’t forget to get a living will, too, to make sure your spouse knows whether or not you want to be kept on artificial life support. You and your spouse should also designate a power of attorney – someone authorized to manage your affairs, typically financial ones, if you’re not able to handle them yourself.
Meet with a qualified insurance professional – Meeting with a financial or insurance professional can help you asses your coverage needs and help put in place the best financial plan for you and your loved one. To find an advisor in your area, visit www.lifehappens.org/agentlocator.
The nonprofit Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) was founded in 1994 in response to the public’s growing need for information and education on life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. LIFE also seeks to remind people of the important role insurance professionals perform in helping families, businesses and individuals find the insurance products that best fit their needs. To learn more about these topics, please visit www.lifehappens.org.