Making a Spender-Saver Relationship Work
When you discuss financial matters with your partner, do you feel that you don’t agree with each other most of the time? You are not alone: opposites attract, so for most couples trying to achieve financial harmony, where both personalities contribute to a balanced approach to the family finance, requires compromise and open and frequent communication.
Identifying your money attitudes and understanding the difference between them is the first step on the journey to becoming a financially harmonious relationship. Candid communication is absent in many marriages, so it’s very important to find the time to sit down and discuss your differences, aspirations and what makes you happy financially on a regular basis.
Spenders need to accept that savers want to have a plan (both short-term, like keeping bills paid on time and being able to afford a holiday; and long-term – such as paying off the mortgage within a certain amount of time) and ensure financial security in the long run, and spending money without a plan can really throw them off balance. Financial security can mean different things to different people, so it’s important to discuss what goals the saver has and how you both can work together to reach them sooner without compromising the spender’s freedom too much. It’s also important to remember that excessive financial wariness can keep savers from enjoying the benefits that money can provide; in other words, spenders can really teach savers how to enjoy life a bit more!
On the other hand, savers need to understand that spenders are not necessarily extravagant or frivolous with their money; it’s just how they are wired. They often are prone to “comfort spending”, so strategies need to be in place to limit spending that is deemed unnecessary by the saver.
One way to overcome this is by having an allowance system, where each partner gets a certain amount of spending money that they can use in any way they prefer, no questions asked. This may help the saver feel confident that they are still on track to reaching their big financial goal without having to control the spender; and the spender can still enjoy having money to spend on personal needs and wants, many of which their partner may deem as meaningless.
The main principle is to make sure you don’t just see the negative side of how the spouse handles money, and be sure to share your appreciation during the good times. Remember to compromise, so you’re both happy. Money is just a tool, and people are the ones who give it so much emotional power.
Remain open-minded, set short-term and long-term financial goals together and work as a team to reach them – and your relationship will flourish, despite you having completely opposite money personalities.