Can Different Money Attitudes Work in a Relationship?


This is a guest post by Jordann Brown.

When you’re in a relationship, at some point you’ll need to compromise with your partner’s needs and wants. You’ll compromise on which restaurant to visit, on what to watch on Netflix, and on where to go for vacation. You’ll probably even compromise on some of your major life decisions, but what about your finances? What if you have fundamentally different attitudes about money? Should you compromise on that too?

Fortunately, even if you have different attitudes about money, you can still have a harmonious financial relationship. In most relationships, each spouse has different strengths. Maybe you’re a good cook and your partner is a good cleaner. Maybe one of you is better at driving, and the other is a good navigator. In those situations, playing your strengths works.

The same principle can be applied to money management. The key to peaceful financial management in relationships is to play your strengths to your advantage, instead of trying to force each other into roles that you might not be suited for.

Play to Your Individual Strengths

For example, I’m the planner in the family. I love spreadsheets, researching savings options, paying off debt, and building detailed budgets. On the other hand, I’m not as great at managing my expenses day-to-day. I have trouble staying on budget (even if I spend an hour lovingly crafting one) and I find searching for the best prices tedious.

Fortunately for me, my partner is the master of frugality. He’s excellent at tracking our daily spending and ensuring we always have enough money in the bank for day-to-day purchases. I always ask him whether we can afford groceries or dinner out, and I make sure we’re reaching our monthly and yearly savings targets.

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Identify Differences and Work Together

We didn’t always have such a harmonious relationship with our money. A few years ago, I would get frustrated at his lack of interest in the size of our emergency fund, and he would get exasperated when I (for the millionth time) picked up something at the grocery store without first looking at the price. We had different attitudes about our money, and we were both trying to force each other to change.

Eventually, we figured out how to work with each other’s strengths, while trying our best to see the other person’s point of view. My partner now takes an interest in where our money is going over the long term, but he lets me do most of the major research and before we talk about options. I always defer to his experience when it comes to staying on budget, and I rarely get frustrated with the extra time and effort he puts into finding us the best deal.

Most Importantly, Communicate!

Seeing eye to eye on money is one of the most important aspects of a successful relationship. That said, you don’t need to have identical views on money management in order to be a successful financial team. By playing each other’s strengths and resolving to work on your weaknesses, you can tackle your finances successfully, together.

Jordann is a part time runner, yogi, local foodie and personal finance aficionado. She writes about handling money as a debt ridden millennial on her blog My Alternate Life. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Image Credit: Jennuine Captures

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