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Americans to spend more this Valentine’s Day

220px-Shoppers_on_Dundas,_near_YongeA recent survey by American Express revealed that Americans plan to spend an average of $239 per person for gifts, entertainment, dining out and travel on Valentine’s Day, an increase from $196 per person last year.

Total spending is expected to rise, but the number of consumers spending money on Valentine’s Day has fallen to 69 percent from 76 percent last year. While fewer Americans may be shopping for Valentine’s Day, six million expect to make or receive a marriage proposal on Feb. 14, an increase from four million last year. Twenty-six percent of Americans plan to propose during a romantic getaway, the most popular proposal setting, while 20 percent of Americans plan to propose during dinner at a restaurant and 15 percent plan to propose during a special meal at home.

“Merchants should see moderate growth in Valentine’s Day spending,” David Rabkin, the senior vice president of U.S. consumer lending products at American Express, said. “More couples say they plan to spend, and spend more to make the day special. Topping the list are gifts, dinners out and going to the movies.”

While men plan to spend more than women on Feb. 14, more than 30 percent of women in relationships indicated that they think the holiday is overrated, and 34 percent of women said that it is a fun holiday but not a major occasion. Another 35 percent of women, however, feel that the holiday is important to share with their significant other.

Most couples indicated that they planned to invest in their relationship throughout the year. Forty-six percent of couples plan to surprise each other with gifts, 37 percent of couples plan to schedule regular date nights and 29 percent of couples are planning at least one romantic getaway.

Finance has also become a hot topic among American couples as more couples begin financial conversations earlier in their relationships. Forty-four percent of couples indicated that they are beginning the talk about financials within six months of meeting, an increase from 29 percent last year. While 66 percent of couples admit to having a financial disagreement, 84 percent of couples also indicated that they consult their partner before making a purchase, an increase from 78 percent in 2012.

A majority of men also reported managing income taxes, investment accounts, property and school taxes and loan applications, while most women report that they are responsible for managing checking and savings accounts, balancing the household budget, paying utility bills and making personal credit card payments.

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