April 10th, 2024

3 lessons Notting Hill could teach you about couples’ financial planning

The 1999 romantic comedy, Notting Hill, was released 25 years ago – and it still stands as a timeless classic of British cinema.

If you’re planning to rewatch the film, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, you might notice that this film has more than epic one-liners and a nostalgic Ronan Keating soundtrack. It also contains helpful life lessons, not least when it comes to handling important life events as a couple.

Here are three surprising lessons that Notting Hill could teach you about couples’ financial planning.

1. Have the “money conversation” early in your relationship

When William Thacker, a struggling bookshop owner, meets multimillionaire actress Anna Scott, he can’t believe that she would see anything in him – yet they fall in love despite his expectations.

However, the two avoid speaking directly about their financial differences until the very end of the film, when William is considering breaking things off with Anna. He says, “I live in Notting Hill; you live in Beverly Hills,” implying that their relationship wouldn’t work out due to their different levels of wealth.

While an understandable avoidance from a romantic perspective, putting off the important topic of money could have an unnecessarily negative impact on your relationship later on.

Even if you and your partner don’t have such different situations as William and Anna, speaking about your financial situation, values, and goals early in the relationship could:

  • Allow you to establish whether your views and experiences line up
  • Prompt important discussions about how you handle your money
  • Give you a better understanding of how to manage your finances as a pair.

With better financial alignment, you could more effectively work towards your goals as a team.

2. Work hard to see the other person’s perspective

When William and Anna begin to spend time together in London, he invites her to a dinner party for his sister’s birthday. William’s friends and family are made up of “normal people” – a lawyer, a chef, a stockbroker, and a thrift store assistant – so they are shocked to discover a movie star in their midst.

During one scene, each person has to prove they are the “saddest act here” in order to claim the last brownie on the dessert plate. They list off their woes one by one, citing financial problems, health issues, and loneliness.

The group assumes that Anna, the beautiful, rich actress, won’t have anything to contribute – but in fact, they’re shocked when Anna reveals her own sadnesses, including having painful cosmetic surgery to be cast in Hollywood movies, a strict diet regime, and a series of hurtful relationships with egotistical actors.

This moment in Notting Hill reminds us to always try and see a situation from another person’s perspective before casting judgement.

When it comes to couples’ financial planning, this mindset could be extremely helpful.

You and your partner may not always see eye to eye when it comes to money – whether it’s how you spend it, save it, or invest it. These differences can lead to arguments, and in some cases, contribute to ongoing friction.

That’s where couples’ financial planning could be extremely valuable. The presence of an independent professional could help to mediate important financial conversations. Plus, we can provide data-driven advice that helps you make decisions as a pair, rather than continuing to only see things “your way”.

3. Seek advice from a trusted source

When William and Anna’s relationship seems to be over, William turns to his best friends to see if he’s made the right decision in breaking things off.

His unexpectedly wise housemate, Spike, is the one who tells William he’s made the wrong choice – and the group race across London to catch Anna before she leaves for America. Of course, they find Anna just in time (otherwise it wouldn’t be a rom-com, would it?)

As a couple, you could also have times where you find yourselves at a crossroads.

For example, you might be trying to decide whether to retire at the same time, or to stagger your retirements to better suit your financial needs. Or, you might be wondering if you can afford to financially support your adult children in buying their first home.

That’s where taking advice from a trusted source comes in. We’re here to act as guides, confidants, and impartial experts, so you and your partner can make informed decisions that are right for both of you.

Get in touch

Couples’ financial planning could help you and your partner handle your wealth as a team, no matter what stage of life you are in. Email enquiries@prosserknowles.co.uk or request a callback from one of our advisers.

Please note

This article is no substitute for financial advice and should not be treated as such. To determine the best course of action for your individual circumstances, please contact us.

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