Money Harmony for couples
Love is in the air. Chocolate, flowers or a candle lit dinner are historically the expression of choice, but what about the idea of creating financial harmony as an expression of true commitment that will last a lifetime. How do we move towards financial relational bliss?
The first step is to understand is that your relationship with money needs to be in balance, both personally and with your partner. People think that more money will solve all of their problems, but if you are not in balance, it will just exasperate your existing dis-ease with ongoing financial discord.
We have all experienced power struggles in our relationships and money is one of the contentious battles that surface. We have heard that opposites attract and your money personalities are no different. Even if we start out with similar ideas about how to use the green stuff, we will eventually polarize, and attack each other for our strengths.
There are seven categories of financial polarization:
Hoarder vs spender
Worrier vs avoider
Planner vs dreamer
Monk vs amasser
Risk-taker vs risk-avoider
Money merger – vs money separatist
Polarizing around different priorities
In order to move towards family financial accord, you need recognize who you are around money and who your partner is. When Mark and I met, twenty-five years ago, he was fairly carefree and spent money on a whim. I was cautious, always looking for a bargain and controlling. Ten years into our marriage, we had polarized and were at each other’s throats. Over time, we have learned how to appreciate the strengths in both of these money personalities in each other. He has learned how to be more intentional about his financial choices and I am trying to be more carefree.
Take some time to reflect and acknowledge what you appreciate in your partner’s style. Take a risk to do something different – meet them half-way. Try on something non-natural for you. It won’t be comfortable, but it will eventually feel good and head you in the right direction. When you do something out of your comfort zone, recognize it and monitor your progress. It will be two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes, writing about your experience of doing it differently, how it feels and what were the results will give you and your partner good feedback to work from.
The earlier in your relationship you can address these pieces, the more likely you will survive the ongoing hurdles in life. As we see a generation moving into “rewirement”, there are additional issues that come up and need to be worked through.
Having money harmony will help us deal with the complexities of answering new questions we face. What is next in this phase of life? Do we sell the house, travel, move closer to the kids? Will we seek adventure or deepen our current roots? How do we balance giving back versus having fun and relaxing? Do we simplify or keep the same lifestyle? How do we embrace change – the physical, mental, emotional and financial adjustments that will take place as we age? Do we open ourselves up to new possibilities? Do we stick to familiar pain or risk new pleasure? How do we address our mortality and look at creating our legacy?
Give your valentine and yourself a true, deeply thoughtful and meaningful gift (albeit less tangibly romantic) – the gift of money harmony!