Money Types in Love

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:

MONEY SPENDER

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.

MONEY MISER

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.

MONEY SLACKER

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

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.

Love and Money

You’re in love and you must deal with the issue of money in your relationship because as we all know, according to attorneys, money issues are the number one reason that relationships fail.

When should you talk about money in a relationship? Well, certainly not on the first date, but as soon as you are pretty sure it looks like love is in the air and you’re going to be moving into a relationship, “let’s talk about money.” The sooner, the better; within, say, the first two or three months.

If you’re already in a relationship, the time to talk about money is now.

What should you talk about?

Over the course of your life, you have developed certain beliefs and ideas about money which are deeply entrenched in you. For instance, you either believe that money I generally in short supply and there is not enough of it to go around, or that money is energy, comes quickly and easily and is in abundant supply.

Beyond those, you might ask, “What kind of money person am I?” unless you already know, and what type of money person is your partner? You needn’t be of the same money type to have a successful relationship. In fact, it is likely that you will have a higher quality long-standing love affair with someone who is unlike you in terms of their money type.

Understanding this, and being respectful of your partner’s belief systems, you are ready to go to the next level of the money talk, which means being open and honest and disclosing your financial affairs.

It’s not uncommon for one or both parties to bring some debt to the table. This should not be a surprise. Full disclosure is important, or else it will be the focal point of conflict in your relationship which could have been avoided.

The largest debt coming into a relationship which can cripple a couple’s potential is student loan debt which can be 50 to 100 thousand dollars or more and can be manageable. So, get it out on the table and discuss it. There are some creative ways to deal with student loan debt, like student loan consolidation (look around, resources are available, such as www.consolidatecollege.com).

Another debt which is usually visited upon a new relationship (or a periodic challenge in an ongoing relationship) is that of credit card debt. It’s easy, depending on your money type, to rack up a sizeable amount of credit card debt. It creeps up on you and can quickly spin out of control becoming unmanageable. Non-profit and for-fee agencies are available to assist in consolidating your credit card debt so that you can get a handle on it.

What’s my credit score?

You should know. When you’re talking about getting serious get to know your credit score, and your partner should know about his or her credit score also. Each party should be responsible for his/her own credit maintenance. You don’t want to wait until you go to buy something to find out your credit score is lacking or has been compromised; then it’s too late. Stay on top of it. There are many online resources, some are free (or say that they are free, then lure you into a subscription, so be careful), some are fee-based. Find one that is suitable for your situation.

Be Proactive

By all means, do not avoid talking about money issues. Find ways to engage talking about money issues. Make watching a regular TV show about money issues, then talk about what caught your attention. Pick a book about money issues and read through it together, talking about it chapter by chapter, honor your love and your relationship by going through this process, even if it’s uncomfortable, but do something… anything! Don’t let this issue of money be the undoing of your relationship.