Talk Money with Your Honey

Mental Health

Q: The last year has been tough financially for my family, and now, in addition to worrying about health, we’re fighting about money.

A: This Valentine’s Day, forget flowers. Talk money with your honey (or have a heart-to-heart with yourself) about setting up an emergency fund, rethinking your budget and planning what’s next for your financial future.

Did you struggle to make rent this past year? To put food on the table? To find work? Or perhaps you are one of the fortunate ones who now has more in savings because you haven’t been spending on travel, eating out and entertainment.

Wherever you are financially, research finds talking about money is anxiety provoking. COVID-19 has not only impacted our physical and psychological well-being, it’s impacted our financial present and futures, too. Now is the time to confront this head-on so you can get back on track.

➡️ What does this have to do with Valentine’s Day?

Research shows that thinking about financial questions in terms of what matters most to you (and your partner/family) can increase connection, decrease fights and boost your sense of control over your circumstances.

This Valentine’s Day, make a date to talk money with your honey. Fights about money often aren’t really about the money – they are disagreements about values and time. The best way to sort those biggies out is to communicate. Regularly.

➡️ I’d prefer to buy chocolates.

Yes. And… along with a box of treats, consider adding in a “gift certificate” for a money date and a free workbook (links below) to assess your current financial situation, create a financial purpose statement, evaluate your health insurance, health directives and reassess your current and future spending after one heck of a year.

➡️ I think about money all the time, thanks.

That’s true for a lot of us these days. The COVID-related layoffs and shutdowns sent unemployment twice as high (6.3% right now compared to 3.5% a year ago). Women, Black and Hispanic workers, and low-income households have endured the brunt of this hardship.

Figuring out where your debt is, your credit score and what your fixed v. flexible expenses are each month can help you save up a cushion for whatever comes next.

➡️ We’re financially fine, so I’ll pass.

If you’re one of the fortunate ones whose savings have increased by spending less outside the home, there’s still planning to do. Perhaps it’s time to reassess who does what around the house? To talk about whose charitable organizations can be funded in the years ahead? These are limited resources, too.

Have another cheesy joke for me?

This Valentine’s Day, remember, roses are red, violets are blue, talk about money and grow your love, too!

Dr. Whelan and Those Nerdy Girls


Download free resources, including What Now? A Couples’ Planning Guide for Uncertain Times, from the Money, Relationships and Equality Initiative


Talking about money provokes anxiety:
Papp, L. M., Cummings, E. M., & Goeke-Morey, M. C. (2009). For richer, for poorer: Money as a topic of marital conflict in the home.

COVID’s impact on our finances:
The Impacts of the Coronavirus on the Economy of the United States

Communicating values in money convos key to increasing connection:
Zimmerman, K. J., & Roberts, C. W. (2012). The influence of a financial management course on couples’ relationship quality.

Fights about money as disagreements about values and time:
Dew, J. P., & Stewart, R. (2012). A Financial Issue, a Relationship Issue, or Both? Examining the Predictors of Marital Financial Conflict

Unemployment stats:

Ten Facts About COVID-19 and the U.S. Economy

Planning important, even for the fortunate:

The Pandemic Has Resulted in Record U.S. Savings Rates, but Only for Some

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