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Debt-free love: Talking debt & relationships this valentine’s day

Debt-free love: Talking debt & relationships this valentine’s day
02-02-24 / Kwanele Sibanda

Debt-free love: Talking debt & relationships this valentine’s day

Cape Town  - As Valentine's Day draws near, love is in the air, and couples are making plans to celebrate their relationships. However, amidst the roses and chocolates, the topic of debt in relationships is often left undiscussed. This is despite the fact that financial problems contribute to 20-40% of all divorces in the world, with an alarming 4 out of every 10 divorced couples citing financial strains for their demise.


National Debt Advisors CEO Charnel Collins unpacks the intricate dance between love and finances.


"Debt is not only a financial challenge but a significant threat to the very fabric of relationships. The pressure and conflicts that arise from managing debt can unveil deeper issues such as secrecy about spending, disagreements on financial management, creating a ripple effect that extends beyond just the numbers on a statement," said Collins.


Collins encouraged couples to share personal financial experiences regularly and pose direct questions about debt, saying this can help couples understand the severity of the situation and how it might affect their own finances is crucial.


"When it comes to discussing finances, the key is open communication without judgment. It's about finding the courage to be vulnerable and sharing our thoughts on spending and saving," Collins explains. "It's crucial to ask ourselves if our partner's financial habits are truly problematic or if they merely differ from our own."


She added that while debt can be a significant burden, especially as millennials grapple with higher levels of debt, it doesn't necessarily have to be a relationship deal-breaker. "In many cases, debt might not significantly impact a couple until they consider moving in together. Setting ground rules around debts and bills, and establishing open communication channels, can help mitigate potential issues," said Collins.


Collins offers the following DO'S and DON'Ts for couples to foster financial harmony:




Set Financial Goals: Shared financial aspirations create a foundation of trust and enhance overall financial stability in a relationship.

Financial Stability: A stable income is a vital component of a healthy relationship, reflecting responsibility and a strong work ethic. Financial stability is attainable through mindful spending, effective saving, and responsible investment practices.

Follow a Set Budget: Establishing and sticking to a budget is a fundamental practice in a relationship. It ensures that expenses are in harmony with income, preventing unnecessary financial strain and promoting financial security for both partners.

Financial Independence: Financial independence contributes to a sense of responsibility and enhances a couple's ability to achieve shared financial goals. Both partners are encouraged to be financially self-sufficient to foster a healthy dynamic in the relationship.




Lack of Savings: Regular savings are essential for maintaining financial stability and achieving shared goals. Neglecting this aspect can lead to financial stress and strain the overall well-being of the relationship.

Personal Debt: Discussing and managing personal debt is crucial before a relationship becomes serious. Open communication and a collaborative approach are necessary to navigate and resolve debt-related issues effectively.

Bad Spending Habits: Irresponsible spending can strain a relationship. Maintaining a budget, avoiding impulsive purchases, and practicing financial restraint are essential practices to promote stability and prevent conflicts arising from incompatible spending habits.


"Financial compatibility goes beyond income and savings; it's about having a shared approach to managing money. This includes committing to saving, paying off debt, and investing for the future," said Collins.

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