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Help, I Married My Money Opposite!
Updated: December 02, 2020 |
Taylor Kovar, CFP

How to Avoid Money Fights Caused by Different Money Personalities

In marriage, some conflict is inevitable. You may not like the same movies or the same food. You may have different ideas about how your children should be raised or how your living room ought to be decorated. All this is normal and you can usually find a compromise that satisfies both of you.

When it comes to a finances in marriage, though, disagreements may be more deeply rooted. Put simply, the way each of us sees money, spending vs saving, planning for the future, and similar issues is part of who you are as a person. Understanding this simple fact is key to avoiding and resolving money fights without either you or your spouse ending up with the short end of the stick.

In fact, we hear this all the time: “Help, I Married My Money Opposite!” As we travel and speak around the country, we always find that this is a source of pain and panic for many couples.

In fact, we’ve discovered that roughly 75% of all couples marry their opposite Money Personality! It’s no surprise that 70% of all divorcing couples cite money as the reason for their split. However, being married to your money opposite does not have to ruin your relationship. It can even make it stronger, as we know from personal experience.

Before we continue, we encourage you to know and OWN your Money Personality™

What are your Primary and Secondary Money Personalities™? Are you a: Spender, Saver, Risk Taker, Security Seeker, or Flyer? You have to know who you are first, then you can start to evaluate your relationship with a new perspective. You should also try to Understand your spouse’s Money Personality™. Once you understand how your spouse views and deals with money, your eyes will be opened in a way they never have before.

Classic Money Opposites: The Spender vs the Saver

We love Spenders! Primary and Secondary Spenders are totally awesome – they’re generous, they’re not afraid to spend money, and they love to give to others. What’s not to love? Of course, I (Taylor) am a Primary spender. So I might be slightly biased.

Since I am a Spender/Risk Taker and Meg is a Security Seeker/Saver, our Money Personalities sure do clash! Heck, that’s true of MOST marriages – opposites sure do attract don’t they? Here are things to consider before ditching your cheap spouse or saying goodbye to your big-spender partner.

We talk about it all the time: so many people marry their money opposites. And when you have conflicting views about money, it’s going to cause some friction about finances in your marriage. Today we’re talking about the two Money Personalities most likely to clash – Spenders vs. Savers.

We recently met with a couple that’s been married for 34 years. They’d already taken their Money Personality Assessment, so we knew they had a volatile combination of Money Personalities before they ever walked in the door! He is a Primary Risk Taker/Secondary Spender, and she is a Primary Saver/Secondary Security Seeker. Almost just like us! Talk about opposites!

The wife arrived first, and she had some questions about their Money Personalities. After we discussed them, we brought up the fact that they were likely dealing with the Opposite Dynamic in their relationship. We asked if they ever fought about money and her answer floored us. She replied, “Not anymore. We haven’t talked about money in 20 years.”

20 YEARS!?

How does a couple go two entire decades without ever talking about money? As we continued to chat while waiting for the husband to arrive, one thing became clear, they may not be discussing their financial plans but money was definitely causing some issues!

The wife complained about her husband spending freely on whatever he wanted. She said she didn’t know how he’d ever be able to retire with his reckless habits. When her husband arrived, their money discord became even more obvious. He was willing to discuss a post-retirement financial plan, but when we tried to dive deeper into how they communicate about money, he completely shut down.

That’s not what any of us wants from our marriage! We want relationships that are fully engaged, have great communication, and are full of love and passion, not resentment and feelings that are never discussed. Our mission is to help you make your marriage divorce-proof, especially if you and your spouse are money opposites. Honestly even if each of you is strongly inclined to spending vs saving, there’s no reason for money fights to spiral out of control.

How Money Opposites Can Agree On Finances in Marriage

We have four important tips to help you out here. As you read through the following, try to remember that there are many different approaches to finances in marriage. Just because you and your spouse disagree about spending vs saving doesn’t mean that either of you are “wrong”!

1. Understand the Opposite Dynamic

On one side of the spectrum, there are Savers and Security Seekers, on the other side we have Spenders, Risk Takers, and Flyers. If your Primary and Secondary Money Personalities™ lie on the opposite side of the spectrum you have the Opposite Dynamic. Acknowledging this will allow you to see how your opposite Money Personalities™ are affecting your overall relationship. The mystery of why your spouse always spends money or why they have to use a coupon for everything will start to make perfect sense now that you understand their Money Personalities™!

2. Remember that There Are Benefits to Having a Money Opposite Spouse

Different viewpoints make a marriage stronger, not weaker. You really don’t have to agree on everything, you only need to be respectful and understanding of your spouse’s opinions and feelings.

If you’re more inclined to the first part of the spending-vs-saving balance, keep in mind that your spouse:

  • Wants to save for the future, so you’ll have a nest egg.
  • Will help you find the best deals.
  • Has an innate talent for saving, giving your family more opportunities
  • Always makes sure you have an emergency fund.

If your spouse is the spender versus saver you, you can still appreciate that they:

  • Love to be generous.
  • Are willing to “spend money to make money” when it comes to starting a business or side hustle.
  • Tend to be thoughtful people who are willing to help others with their time as well as money.
  • Are ready to answer when opportunity knocks.

3. Try To Understand Where Your Spouse Is Coming From

Don’t get frustrated or feel like your spouse is controlling, try to understand that it’s just who they are. (Of course,if one of you controls all the finances in your marriage without consulting the other, you’ve found what’s basically the worst possible solution to the Opposite Dynamic.)

Look at it from their perspective. As a major bonus, this will make them more likely to consider your perspective as well. Remember that their Money Personality is in their DNA. You can’t change it, so you have to learn to work with it and respect it.

4. Acknowledge that Your Spending Habits Are Equally Irritating to Them

If you think they’re too nitpicky about discovering and using ways to save money, remember that the way you shop actually stresses them out! Similarly, if you’re a natural Saver, it may seem like your spouse is spending money just to annoy you. Take a deep breath: remember that our Money Personalities are pretty much hardwired into us. This makes any other approach to spending vs saving seem bizarre – you have to make a conscious effort to understand your spouse’s way of dealing with money (as well as explaining yours to them).

It’s important to consider that.

  • You love each other and desire a good relationship, so you have to work toward understanding each other.
  • Compromise! Respect each other’s Money Personalities and Compromise with Purpose.

So, now you are probably wondering…How do you find that compromise? It seems impossible. We get it. This is why encourage you to start with knowing your Money Personalities. Click HERE to get started.

Final Thoughts

Enjoy your new-found knowledge about yourself and your spouse. Take the next week and see what and how this Opposite Dynamic is affecting your relationship in everyday money decisions. Once you see how these almost-automatic choices are affecting your Money Relationship, you can have a conversation that will build you both up and help you stop tearing each other down.

As always,

Taylor & Megan Kovar

The Money Couple

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