Want to hear the most astoundingly romantic gift my husband will give me this year? A visit to the CPA.
Yes, that's right -- the same man who rowed me out to an island for a sunset picnic to propose (having buried the engagement ring in the sand the night before) is giving me something I think every spouse should cherish: the chance to review our financial goals with an eye toward fulfilling all of our dreams for the future.
He (Robert Brokamp, editor of Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement) and I pride ourselves on good communication, financially and otherwise. And yet, after seven years of marriage, four kids, and lives that have gotten exponentially busier, we've drifted away from our long-term goals. It seems like we're always doing damage-control, figuring out who will get kid A to school, kid B to ballet, and so on. We spend far less time discussing how best to handle our financial life, and far more time vacuuming Cheerios out from under the car seats.
That's why the time to meet with a CPA seems like the perfect gift this year. We get time together without anyone tugging on our legs (if the CPA does that, run!) or negotiating a sibling squabble. We remind ourselves of our shared vision of the future. And in the process, we get to feel good about getting organized and back in synch.
While your honey may not find a visit to the CPA equally romantic, do take time together this season to assess where the two of you are headed financially. Ask yourselves:
- Can we each name our top five financial goals?
- Do we have a regular time set aside to talk about financial matters?
- Have we found the method of communication (face-to-face, email, sonnet) that works best for us when talking about money?
- What money-issue can each of us work on that will improve our financial lives? (I recommend that you each identify your own shortcomings, rather than pointing out your spouse's. You may get clobbered on the head with a box of chocolates, otherwise.)
- Are we happy with our current arrangement for divvying up financial tasks?
- Is our financial paperwork relatively in order?
- Have we created a will? (If the answer is no, stop everything and get this done right away.)
Whether you're newly engaged or old married folks like us, taking time to discuss these issues is imperative for the long-term health of your relationship. And what's more romantic than talking about your future together? (Guys, I don't want to be responsible for you having to sleep on the couch. Just in case your beloved isn't as starry-eyed about fiscal responsibility as I am, hedge your bets and bring along a love poem or some roses.)
Want more help talking about money with your honey? Try:
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Fool contributor Elizabeth Brokamp, who writes the "Ask Mrs. Riches" column, is a licensed professional counselor. She's happily married to Robert Brokamp, editor of The Motley Fool's Rule Your Retirement newsletter. The CPA gift is no joke!