Chocolate and flowers may be the go-to gifts when a couple first starts dating, but if you ask Kevin O'Leary, the best thing you can give a new romantic partner is transparency about your finances.
The chairman of O'Shares ETFs and judge on CNBC's new show "Money Court" tells CNBC Make It that by the time a new couple are on their third date they should lay their cards on the table and "discuss your financial objectives for the rest of your life."
O'Leary, who also recommends couples get a prenuptial agreement before marriage, says that the No. 1 reason couples separate is because of financial stress, caused by factors such as differing viewpoints on how to handle finances. By discussing money early on, couples can help stave off any unpleasant surprises down the line, O'Leary says.
"Do you have any debt? Has your family been bankrupt? Do you have a brother that's gone bankrupt? All of these these difficult conversations need to be had before the marriage, before people move in together," O'Leary says. "Because within five to seven years, they'll manifest themselves as the reason you separate."
Money isn't something couples should fight about, but instead something they should agree on, he says.
"Money is actually, at the end of the day, a member of the family," O'Leary says. "You can't have a successful family without a strong financial pillar and you have to enjoy and pursue the same financial goals."
Though it can be a challenging and sometimes embarrassing thing to be honest about your finances early on with a romantic partner, O'Leary believes it will lead to stronger relationships.
"It's a business, that's what marriage is. It's a personal corporation," O'Leary says. "It's a partnership, and what's at the middle of it? Cash flow. Not very romantic, but it's the truth."