Hopefully all you hopeless romantics out there turned up the heat for Valentine’s Day yesterday and had an enchanted evening with your significant others, your soul mates, your better halves. Did the chocolates get enjoyed, the bubbly pour, the flowers bloom? I’m sure the company was excellent.
But I have to say: even if everything was picture perfect for St Val’s, you probably still don’t realise how much that relationship means. Partnering is so wasted on partners these days.
While you were lost in their eyes or whispering sweet nothings in their ears, little did you know that you were building one of the most amazing wealth engines of all time. You see, partnering up creates riches beyond what we could ever accomplish on our own.
Yet all too often we throw it all away without realising it – it’s one of the tragedies of the modern day that relationships are so disposable!
Let’s take the concept of “wealth” as wide as we can here: it means different things to different people. We’re just not talking diamonds, pearls or yachts – this is about total “well-being”, which is where the word “wealth” comes from in the first place. My parents measured it in children and in books (dad was an English professor after all). Whatever it means to you, there can definitely be more wealth when you work towards it as a couple.
There are many reasons why this is so, far beyond just because it’s cheaper to share expenses and a roof over our heads. If there are two incomes between us it’s obvious, but even a breadwinner in a single-income couple will have their partner’s invaluable support and accomplish more in their career than they ever could on their own.
If you consider how money works, particularly compound interest, wealth built in a relationship generates even more wealth. The more money we can put together, the more it can work for us and the better results we can achieve.
But even if we are, we should take a second look before walking away. Although I’m not advocating anyone staying in a relationship that can’t be fixed, we may be underestimating how much we can accomplish together. Because of the way wealth grows over time, relationships are valuable, precious even.
With a break-up, way too much of the wealth we’ve built, and what we could have built, gets destroyed. This is also surely one of the reasons that that women tend to reach retirement with a lot less money. Failed relationships are a money killer!
Not long ago a friend at one of the largest investment houses in the country was telling me how financial advisers would be more effective if they were also marriage counsellors. His advisers there repeatedly see so much of the vast wealth that’s been growing – compounding for years in funds – evaporate when couples separate.
I’m just talking from the perspective of money, but to me it’s a metaphor for all the other things in life that make us wealthy, too. The more staying power a relationship has, the more all kinds of well-being can grow.
So join me as I raise a glass of red wine to all the lovers, spouses and partners out there. Beyond Valentine’s Day, dialling up all that romance is way more important than we realise.