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Flirting with financial ruin?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Posted: 12 pm ET

It wouldn't be romantic in the traditional sense, but the best gift for your Valentine might involve fiscal restraint. After all, financial difficulties are not very romantic. So before you spend money on that expensive bottle of perfume or splurge on dinner in a white-tablecloth restaurant, you might consider a less-expensive gesture.

Take a step back and examine your finances before splurging on Valentine's Day.

Take a step back and examine your finances before splurging on Valentine's Day.

"Americans will exchange candy, flowers and gifts with their loved ones this Valentine's Day, but I encourage all Americans to give themselves the gift of financial self-reflection," Steve Trumble, president and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, noted in a release.

While 43 percent of the wealthy (those with a net worth of $5 million or more) say they will spend more than $100 on Valentine's Day, according to a survey by Spectrem's Millionaire Corner, money can be a romance-killer if couples disagree over finances.

Trumble believes too many consumers who buy into the extravagance of Valentine's Day gifts are flirting with financial disaster. And, as with any relationship on the rocks, the signs are not hard to see if you look.

Some of the signals include not paying bills on time or missing payment deadlines; dipping into savings or retirement accounts; being at the top of your credit card limit; spending more than you earn and struggling to make minimum payments.

The remedy for recovering from financial heartbreak might not be fun or easy, but the long-term gift to yourself and a loved one is the best of all: security.

"Let's face it, everyone has good intentions when it comes to their personal finances, but sometimes we get off track," Trumble said. "It is so important to be able to recognize the signs leading up to a personal financial disaster. You can avoid a financial catastrophe by getting back on track before it's too late."

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