Sure, you love your spouse, but sometimes you want to just scream when it comes to managing household finances. If you’re a saver and your partner is a spender, or vice versa, there is sure to be an occasional (or not so occasional) argument over how to manage money. The good news is, there is hope for saver-spender couples who just want to get on the same page. Here are three tips for developing a financial game plan that works for both of you.
1. Support each other
You don’t have to agree with everything your partner does, but you should each have a healthy dose of support and respect. Your spendthrift may just need some encouragement when it comes to financial self-control. And your saver may need help learning it’s OK to spend a little every now and then. Support each other where you currently are in your money journey. Everyone has their own unique struggles with money, and you won’t always see eye-to-eye.
“When it comes to a money relationship, couples seem to assume they ought to see things exactly the same way all the time, and when they don’t…well, they wonder why their spouse is such an idiot about money. But here’s the thing: every person has a unique way of thinking about and dealing with money—we call this a money personality…When two people start building a life together, it’s only a matter of time before their money personalities start to play into the decisions they make—everything from where to eat dinner to what kind of shoes to buy to what kind of wedding to have,” said Scott and Bethany Palmer in The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language.
2. Learn together
Chances are, you both have a thing or two to learn about money management. Why not learn together? Make time to improve your financial literacy. Just because you save a lot doesn’t mean you know everything there is about money. And if you tend to be a spender, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t know anything about money management. Attend workshops and read financial books together. This will help open the way for regular money discussions and give you the tools you need to make wiser financial decisions as a couple.
3. Assemble a financial team
Work with a team of financial professionals who can help you sort through your money challenges. A certified financial planner should be at the top of your list. You may also want to think about speaking with a financial therapist. There may be a deeper reason for excessive spending or saving. Financial therapy may help you get to the bottom of how you feel about money as well as why you manage it the way you do.
“Money is straightforward. It follows the basic rules of math: addition, subtraction, income, spending. It’s predictable. It’s not a mystery how the markets work or why your bank account looks the way it does. All this can be explained. But how we feel about money is much more complex and difficult to explain. Feelings aren’t as explainable, predictable, or controllable. How a couple communicates about managing money adds a level of complexity to the relationship,” said Derek and Carrie Olsen in One Bed, One Bank Account: Better Conversations on Money and Marriage.
More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet
- 6 Tips for Talking to Your Partner About Money
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- 6 Money Questions Everyone Should Ask Before Getting Married
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