Skewed Cupid

Valentine’s Day conjures up images of hearts, flowers and a double-decker box of chocolate, nougat and nuts. But, metaphorically speaking, what happens when that stupendous bouquet of roses you got turns out to be a pile of weeds? Love might cloud our vision, line drawing but that doesn’t mean you have to turn a blind eye to consumer pitfalls. If you know what to look for, you can avoid some big missteps. While these are probably the least romantic Valentine sentiments ever, they just might save you some heartbreak down the road.

Can we talk? Experts suggest engaged couples have a frank and free-ranging discussion about money before tying the knot. Can you establish joint priorities and a budget? If one or both of you are carrying a lot of debt into the marriage, do you have a plan to deal with it? Who will manage paying the bills? Before saying yes to the dress, should you say nyet to the debt? Bottom line: to live in “har-money,” talk to each other, early and often.

My not-so-funny Vile-entine. Online dating has brought millions together. But some scammers create fake profiles to trick you into sending money in the name of love. Is there an online love interest who asks you for money – or personal financial information? Swipe left – it’s almost certainly a scam artist. Don’t let an imposter pester you.

Hey baby, what’s your sign? What do you do if your special friend – online or in person, or even a buddy or relative – asks you to co-sign a loan? That means you’re promising to pay the debt if they don’t. There may be times you want to co-sign for someone but before you do, think about it long and hard. Remember, it’s an obligation that can affect your finances, too.

This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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