The subject of money is the number one reason for relationship breakdown and divorce, probably because how we feel about money is a microcosm of how we feel about the important things in life. Money is just an easier way to express ourselves, rather than to dig down and do the deep inner work.
Our association with money and our particular money type say so much about who we are and where we’ve been. Yet, here it is, out on front street, wreaking havoc in our most sacred relationship, causing friction between you and your partner.
It’s important to know first what type of money person you are. Are you a Money Spender, Money Miser, Money Slacker, or a Money Hater? Then determine which type of money person your partner is. If you both are completely different money types, not to worry, successful couples are often different money types. It’s not so much about your money type as it is what you do about it, and the earlier the better, in a relationship.
There is no judgment or shame about which money type you are. There is no right, no wrong, and the same goes for your partner. As you may already know, since money is obviously a big deal, you could do your best to adopt your partner’s money type for the sake of preservation of the relationship. While this is effective while you are able to manage it, it is stressful and adds resentment to you. It is a terrible burden to bear, and at some point, your money type is going to express itself in an unlikely manner.
It’s better to be open and honest about your relationship with money because it is not likely to change over time.
How we approach, feel about, and deal with money is not something that has developed suddenly overnight. Our money types are based on a lifelong journey and are intrinsically part of our personality and it is linked to our parents, how we were raised, and based on our experiences with money over time.
Money is a very intimate and sensitive part of our overall personality and likely one that you’re not comfortable about talking about. That’s why most couples avoid discussing the subject of money, or more importantly, how they really feel about financial matters. Even though it should be one of the most important topics discussed, especially prior to marriage.
And if you’ve waited until you are experiencing money conflicts in your relationship, it may be too late to do anything about it.
Following are the basic money types:
You gotta love the money spenders, especially if you’re in a retail business. They love to have things, lots of things, nice, new shiny things. They use money as a therapeutic instrument if they’re feeling a bit out of sorts, buying something new will make them feel better.
The downside is they are less likely to pay attention to their finances, over-finance, have excessive debt and file periodic bankruptcies. They’re more likely to overspend and buy things they do not need or will not use. They have the spending part down, not so much the responsibility piece.
There is no other more frugal person than the money miser, who counts every penny, tucks away money in savings and retirement, is likely rarely buy, but when they do, they’ve clipped coupons in advance or only buy items on sale, seconds or at thrift shops.
The downside is their relationship with money is based on fear and lack. Afraid that at any moment the sky will fall, and they would be devastated. They will often have barely enough to get by and satisfy their need to hide some money in savings and investments in the hopes that one day, they can retire.
The money slacker avoids anything that has to do with money at any cost. Doesn’t mind spending it, but rarely knows if they can afford whatever it is they’re spending it on. They avoid balancing their checkbook, opening or paying bills, saving or investing money is not on their radar and retirement is, “whatever.”
The downside of money slackers is that it’s hard to even have a conversation about money with them, and dealing with money issues is so far removed from them, that they’d rather do just about anything to avoid opening an envelope to expose a depressing bill. To the money slacker, discussing a budget is considered a brutal attack.
Money haters think there is something inherently evil about money. Those who have it are money-grubbing mongrels, punishing, stealing and living off the blood of the less fortunate and poor. They are not likely to spend money on nice things and see nice things as trappings of the greedy and oppressive wealthy, or the wannabe. They’re more likely to give their money away to good causes or to someone more deserving than themselves.
The downside for the money haters is that there is nothing for them to fall back on and they’re likely to self-perpetuate their poverty, which to them, is likened to a badge of honor indicating selflessness and martyrdom.
As all successful couples know, love is not enough to sustain a relationship over time. You need a strong set of love survival skills to get from the initial feelings of falling in love to a successful long-term relationship shared by two over time. Talking about money, how you feel about it, what it means to you, and finding ways to compassionately understand and integrate a lifestyle that honors your partner’s money type, as well as your own, is paramount to a successful relationship.