Forget all the hearts you’re seeing around Valentine’s Day: your heart shouldn’t guide your financial planning.
Emotion and money seldom make great bedfellows. According to the folks at finance site NerdWallet, 49% of Americans say emotions have caused them to spend more than they can afford. That wears off a bit with age — 67% of Millennials (18-34) say so vs. 29% of Baby Boomers over 65 — but everybody makes terrible emotional decisions with money.
Of those who let emotions dictate their overspending, 29% say they overspend due to stress, 22% say it’s because of excitement and 13% say it’s retail therapy to cope with sadness. Though 86% think there are acceptable reasons to go into credit card debt, roughly that many (87%) would be embarrassed to do so. In fact, most Americans will feel terrible if they go into debt for any reason beyond covering emergency purchases (63%), medical expenses (61%) and covering necessary expenses during periods of unemployment (45%).
However, even a quick rush of endorphins from an uplifting event can inspire some rash financial decisions. Financial firm UBS Wealth Management Americas found that investors’ outlook on the economy, their top concern during the 2016 Presidential election, has improved by 50% since Trump was elected. Additionally, 68% of investors said they expect Trump’s policies to lead to strong stock market returns over the next six months. As a result, the majority of investors (55%) are actively looking for investment opportunities, up from 34% immediately following the election, with 42% likely to increase their investments in the stock market and nearly one-third of wealthy investors (30%) ready to deploy cash.