uring these difficult times, while 

       the whole world is fighting a war

     against Covid-19, it is important to remember that this virus has not been easy on our health, relationships or finances. I grew up in a joint family where a large group of people lived in a big traditional looking “Haveli” (Old style mansion) type of a house.There was never a dull moment as everyone constantly had time for each other.Kids were busy with their cousins and friends; stay-at-home men and women also had a good support system within the family.Working individuals, on the other hand, received a bit more importance, time and attention because they were not as easily available to socialize compared to non-working members.

Romance in big families was considered a luxury item.If a husband brought a gift for his wife, it made the rest of the family envious and it added value to the gift and its’ receiver.Today we have to look for ways to infuse love and romance into our gestures for each other and with busy lifestyles and social-media driven society, love has changed its outlook.We need to continuously improvise and move forward.  These top 3 priorities are suggested for this valentine’s day to spark love and romance:

Health:

Most of us believe that family comes first and love is forever; we know 

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that both family and love require unconditional nurturing and attention.  Have we given enough attention to the ones we love these past few months?  At the beginning of lockdown, we were all happy that this is nature’s way of getting us back together with our loved ones, but was it true after being locked up for a few months? I read an article on “Secrets to Longevity” and it talked of a village in Greece where every person lives over 100 years.  After a lengthy research, the writer concluded that the long life was the result of a close-knit social life in the village. It had very little or almost nothing to do with science, technology or food. I think our mental health has suffered a lot and has its impacts on our relationships during Covid-19. For Valentine’s day, lets make a promise to spend at least one hour and be a great listener to the people who matter the most in life, the bonus is, there is no cost involved.

Love

Valentine’s day has been romanticized for roses and sweetheart greeting cards. To me, love means care and that care has to be constant and not limited to one day of the year.  Find something that your partner does for you all the time but you ignore because it is given; things such as fixing lunch, washing clothes, or cleaning after you, etc. On Feb 14,  make a list of things you will take care of for your

partner, or better yet give an advance notice, of the responsibilities for the day.  I know you are already counting all the things that you do for the counterpart, well don’t; this is the day to focus on the love and support to rejuvenate the relationship.

Money

In most relationships, one spouse is more involved in making financial decisions than the other. If you take care of the finances in your family, then go ahead and put aside a budget for your next vacation and choose Feb 14th to plan and design what that dream vacation would be like.  On the other hand, if you are not the one managing money, then come up with the idea of what you two would like to do next and how you could contribute towards that vacation fund. 

As a financial planner, I meet with many couples and one common mistake I observe repeatedly, is that there isn’t enough appreciation for what the other partner does.  For example, high income earners give importance to working outside and making a living and low or non-working partner focus more on what happens at home and family affairs; have less compassion for the working partner’s outside world challenges. 

During a survey “Best Financial Decisions” last year, my clients point

-ed out top 2 tips that they cherish and benefit the most from, are:

Putting away an annual vacation budget for family and saving monthly for it. Paying it like they pay a utility bill.

Having a written excel document called "Budget”.They simply follow my instructions and work with a technique called Map to Financial Success.It divides their income into 3 buckets:

  1. Necessities – 50%

  2. Desires and dreams- 30%

  3. Savings – 20

A young family who started working with me only four years back.Having a lot of financial issues, started investing in a customized choice of equities and fixed income portfolio. By putting away just 20% of their earnings religiously for four years, they now have accumulated over $250K, they were able to save taxes and grow their money in a most tax efficient way possible. Their relationship is better, they feel secured financially and have made some great decisions around their health and family as well.

I don’t know about you but in this past year, I spent much more time in the house and with my family. 

This Valentine’s Day, don’t forget the reason why you fell in love with your unique partner, in the first place.