Understanding your partner’s money personality

By Falk Hampel

Have you ever wondered why you can’t see eye to eye with your business partner about money? Do you argue with your spouse and family over how money is spent? The answer is that money has nothing to do with dollars and sense. It is a deeply emotional subject and few of us treat it rationally.
Television has capitalized on this phenomenon in “real life” shows. We sit at home watching people receive financial advice from experts. We marvel at how foolishly they manage their money and why they can’t see the “obvious.” Confronted with excellent financial advice, these individuals continued to sabotage themselves. Why would a person choose to do this we ask ourselves?
There are many reasons why some people don’t manage their money as well as they could. The usual conclusion is that they require education. However, education on its own is of no value. Let’s face it, we all know too much cotton candy is bad, and in a perfect world we would all eat healthily and exercise regularly. Unfortunately people don’t always do what they know they should.
So how do we change this? Well, we fix it one problem at the time.
There is always a lot of talk about understanding your partner in terms of their love language, but there is a whole other aspect to this also and that is understanding their personality traits, their characteristics, some of those built-in values.  We are all wired differently.
Some of us are extroverts and others are introverted; it’s important to know that about and understand that about your partner. Another important trait is parenting, people have very different views on parenting: some people think children are meant to be seen and not heard and other people think children should able to express themselves. There are many other traits, including the one I call “Money matters.
Most people choose a partner whose ‘money personality’ is opposite of their own. If they don’t, they will become each others opposite over time. Two people in a relationship will always drift towards opposite “money personalities,” taking on different roles.
Chances are that a spender will marry a saver and if two spenders marry, one will gravitate towards the role of a super-spender while the other will learn to hoard.
Similarly, a money worrier will choose a money avoider—or if both people begin as worriers, over time one of them will lapse into avoidance while the other worries even more. There are a variety of money opposites, some of them are:
  • Spenders who choose Hoarders
  • Worriers who choose Avoiders
  • Planners who choose Dreamers
  • Mergers who choose Separatists
Mergers are usually men who are motivated by romance to pursue as much union as possible—so they want a joint bank account. Women are more likely to be the separatists, insisting on managing some of their own money.
Peaceful compromise is possible and necessary. You should probably seek the help of a financial planner. However, the first and most important step is to determine your and your partner’s money personality.
Understanding these will help explain people’s behaviour in terms of earning, spending, gifting, borrowing, saving and investing. Both partners need to acknowledge what they envy or appreciate about the other person’s money style.
To make life easier know your partner and understand your partner’s money style, that way you will understand why they do the things they do. We all know that money can cause friction in relationships so the more you know about your partner’s wiring around money, the more likely you are to have a successful relationship.
By realizing your different style you will be able to work through financial situations in a more honest and respectful manner.  If you are already in a relationship, it all comes down to communication, respect and the willingness to compromise. Just like with everything else.
Falk Hampel is an advisor with RJ Rau & Associates. He can be reached at (519) 466-0243.

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