What the heart is saying about finances

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With Valentine’s Day here, research showed individuals who might be married or in an exclusive relationship and perhaps sending applications to your finance company or walking into your dealership showroom, aren’t together just because of physical attraction or engaging conversation.

A January YouGuv survey of more than 1,100 adults compiled for TransUnion determined 24 percent of people believe a good credit score makes someone more attractive.

Meanwhile, SunTrust Bank found that 41 percent of Americans consider financial stability to be among the traits they find most important in a partner, ranking only behind personal values (78 percent) and personality (73 percent).

Furthermore, SunTrust learned that more people value financial stability than looks (21 percent) or physical fitness (21 percent), according to an online survey conducted in January by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust among more than 2,000 U.S. adults.

“People identify financial stability as an important trait because they know money — and how one manages it — impacts a relationship,” said Brian Ford, financial well-being executive at SunTrust Bank.

“People often enter relationships with different monetary goals and views. For example, one may want to save more for retirement and can’t understand why a partner is more focused on short-term experiences. The keys to overcoming financial discord in a relationship are communication and compromise,” Ford continued.

SunTrust offered a quartet of questions adults in a relationship can ask each other; discussion points that dealership salespeople or F&I office personnel could use as well to make sure the couple enjoys the vehicle long after delivery:

— What are your most important goals? Talk to your significant other about aspirations and make a list of what you have in common. If aligning your goals is difficult, create a blend that represents your collective core values.

— How does your past influence your spending and savings habits? Make an effort to understand your partner's personal history. Financial habits are often handed down by parents, so it's important to empathize with your partner and understand how he or she was raised.

— Would you share your plans before making a big-ticket purchase? It's important to know whether your partner wants to maintain a level of financial independence. Decide whether you need to talk with each other before making purchases above a certain price point, or whether you agree to keep finances separate.

— What is your debt philosophy? Financial disagreements often arise from different views of debt, from how much to use a credit card to the term and amount of new-vehicle financing. Ask your partner what he or she considers an acceptable level of debt and see how much it diverges from your answer.