Throughout our partnership, Jeanine and I have never argued about money. We have had many money discussions and when one has held a different view then we have talked about it to reach a middle ground on the topic.
Katy Read at LHJ writes, “According to financial experts, talking about money may be just about as important for couples as saving it, whether the discussions are chats on the way to the grocery store or formal family meetings.”
“In many marriages, money is not only the biggest area of disagreement, it’s often the undercurrent of ongoing arguments that seem to be about something else entirely, such as housework or children or the color of the new sofa. Some of these spats could be avoided through frequent, honest discussions.”
When you put two people together in one household, it’s unlikely that you’re going to see eye-to-eye on everything. Olivia Mellan, author of Money Harmony, outlines four money personalities. According to her, most people fall into one or more loosely defined category.
Spenders are the classic shop-till-you-drop consumers who derive a rush of pleasure from buying.
Hoarders have strict budgets and systematically prioritize everything. Saving for them is orgasmic and spending on entertainment, vacations, and anything but the most necessary items is seen as frivolous.
Avoiders put off dealing with money management because the task overwhelms them. Since they don’t like budgets or keeping records, they frequently forget to pay their bills.
Amassers stockpile their funds in order to feel safe and happy. The bigger the pile, the better they feel.
I’m 90% Amasser and 10% Hoarder. But people only fit into Mellan’s categories if they are skewed to one of the extremes. Jeanine doesn’t possess (to an extreme) any characteristics of the four traits mentioned above.
She is an Avoider to the extent that at times, she might be emotionally overwhelmed by money decisions, but it has never impacted her ability to keep things straight and pay her bills on time. She never has paid anything late. And even though, from my perspective, she doesn’t seem as “organized” about her finances, she gently reminds me that her credit scores are over 800 while mine hover in the high 700s.
She has a balanced view of finances. But we don’t always agree on everything about money. It wouldn’t be normal. Katy Read continues, “If there’s one big rule on which experts agree, it’s that both partners must be full participants in the family’s financial life. Even if one spouse earns all the money or handles all the paperwork, the other needs to know what’s going on and should have an equal say in major decisions.”
“Keeping one partner out of the financial loop creates an imbalance of power in the relationship that can cause trouble. And if anything should happen to the person ‘in charge,’ the other could be left helpless.”
The key is to keep each other involved and this requires talking about money. It’s Relationship 101 and communicating applies to everything… not just money issues. I want to communicate something to Jeanine today: Happy Birthday!