Personal Finance

So it's money — not sex — that can bust up your relationship

Build a budget

This Valentine's Day, don't let your checkbook get in the way of your love life.

A recent survey from LearnVest, an online provider of financial planning services, found that 68 percent of Americans in relationships say that finances cause more tension with their partner than their sex life does.

The New York–based firm polled 1,000 adults online between Dec. 8 and Dec. 13.

In fact, nearly a quarter of the participants said that they have ended a relationship over money. Close to six in 10 said they would rather be single for the rest of their lives than to marry someone with bad financial habits.

"From the jobs we take to the way we raise our children, there are so many life decisions that have to be made as a couple — and most will impact your money," said Alexa von Tobel, founder of LearnVest.

Lack of money intimacy

It turns out that couples often know very little about the state of each other's personal finances.

Only half of the individuals surveyed know their significant other's investment account balances.

Meanwhile, 32 percent don't know how much their partner earns or the amount he or she has in bank accounts.

Make money romantic

Here are five steps you can take to ensure that your cash flow doesn't get in the way of your relationship.

1. Go on a date — to talk about money: "A relaxing Sunday morning is a more ideal time to have a financial conversation than at the end of a long workday when you're lying in bed and exhausted," said von Tobel.

2. Stay casual: Your "finance date" shouldn't be a formal affair. You can have your talk over a glass of wine and some takeout. Just make sure that you're having this chat in a quiet place.

3. Be prepared: Do your homework before you meet up. Bring your credit card and bank statements, student and car loan balances, or a copy of your credit score and relevant reports. "It's important to come to the conversation with full knowledge of your financial picture," said von Tobel.

4. Discuss combining accounts: Blending your finances with your squeeze might not be the best idea for you two or it might be.

"If you love compromise, combining your finances may be a good fit," said von Tobel. "If you're fiercely independent, keeping your finances separate may be the way to go."

5. Keep your common goals in mind: Wrap up your "finance date" with a round-up of your shared goals, even if they're long term.

"Taking the pulse on these big-picture ambitions will ensure that you both stay on the same page and keep you motivated while you save up for them together," said von Tobel.