“I love starting the day with a coffee from Starbucks! So what if it’s $6?” “Why spend all that money when we can just brew it at home?” Have you and your spouse ever had an argument like this? You’ve probably chalked it up as just another unavoidable money fight, but that might not be the case. Often times, money problems aren’t about money.
Things like figuring out how to pay off your mortgage, is different from day-to-day money talks. Success with one doesn’t translate to the other.
Why? Because everyone views money differently. That’s why we rolled up our sleeves and did the research to identify the 5 Money Personalities in the first place. What makes sense for your financial plan might not make sense for your combined Money Personalities.
These little inconsistencies often show up as these little arguments. They may not seem bad at first, but that nagging little stuff has the potential to add up over time like weakened bathroom floor (poor, Tom Hanks).
If you want it clean things up, you have to realize your money problems aren’t about money. Check out these 3 ways to avoid the fights and painful patterns.
1. Seek to understand the other person.
The first thing you need to do is learn to understand your partner better. What does money mean to them? You two will be teamed up for a long time so invest the time NOW to better understand what makes them tick.
It seems simple, but you’ll be amazed how effective just asking questions can be. One couple we worked with had huge problems with the wife going over her husband’s proposed budget. Nothing seemed to work, until we had him ask his wife what amount of extra money each month would satisfy her need for freedom. Her husband was shocked when she replied with a simple “$100”. It was an instant victory. After adding that little cushion, she never went over budget again.
To some of us, money needs to be carefully planned and managed, to others, that security means nothing if you aren’t free to spend it a little haphazardly from time to time. If you don’t know your partner’s preferences, these conflicting goals can be a recipe for disaster.
2. Respect and accept.
When couples learn about each other’s Money Personalities, they’re often tempted to try and change each other. Or judge their partner’s natural bent.
They might try to “control the other’s spending” or “teach them to live a little” in an effort to get rid of the problem by ignoring part of what makes their partner unique. They begin to feel like you’re saying the moneys problem aren’t about money, it’s about them as a person.
What these couples don’t realize is that Money Personalities can’t be changed. It’s in your DNA. Your partner is going to be set that way for the rest of their life.
This is a good thing though. Each of the 5 Money Personalities brings an important strength to the equation. We all could learn something from all 5 Personalities.
Respect and accept your partner’s different traits. That actually STRENGTHENS your relationship once you learn to accept them and learn from your differences. You wouldn’t be mad at your spouse for being short or tall. This is very similar.
3. Speak their language.
Once you both have this information, you can set about making sure that when you talk about money, the other person’s needs are being met as well.
For example, try using the word “plan” or “planning” when talking to a Security Seeker, or try adding a “freedom spending account” to your Spender’s budget. If you’re married to a Flyer, they won’t care as much about the dollars and cents as the memories that cash helps your family create. Be sensitive and speak their language.
Once you both understand money problems aren’t about money and embrace these 3 things, your relationship is going to blossom.
Remember, if you don’t know your partner’s Money Personality, there’s a good chance your money problems aren’t about money. It’s about your partner’s Money Personality differences. Once you learn and accept your differences, you’ll be amazed how small actions of understanding can work wonders for your relationship.
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple
Creators of the 5 Money Personalities