As we look at the top reasons for divorce, you’ll find almost any study shows that "financial reasons" consistently make the cut. It turns out compatibility in relationships extends beyond personality types.
When couples are not on the same page financially it causes friction in the relationship. We’ve seen it over and over. Left unchecked, this friction can lead to resentment, which is why we see so many divorces triggered by disagreements about finances.
On the flip side, when couples are in sync financially it improves their relationship. It frees up stress, it creates a common goal, and it allows the couple to experience the ups and downs of temporary sacrifices for long-term success — together.
So where do we start? Here are a couple ideas:
1) Have a scheduled “business” meeting.
Put it on the calendar like you would with any other business meeting. Meet somewhere for dinner with a pen and paper and sit across the table from each other.
We always recommend setting long term goals, but what about shifting the conversation to talking about short-term opportunities? What are some of the things you want to chase in the next year? Next quarter? Next month? These things should be written out with well defined action steps to take. This helps those long-term goals come into clearer focus with intentional living here and now.
2) Have some fun money
The importance of putting a budget in place and setting goals can’t be understated. However, sometimes we see families sacrifice almost everything in order to reach their financial goals. The destination is important, but road trips are best when you leave some room to have fun along the way. Go hard towards your destination but don’t forget to enjoy the journey! Set up a separate "fun money" fund for family vacations, weekend entertainment, concerts, eating out, etc. This way you can spend guilt-free, knowing you are still on track towards your goals.
3) Understand your partner’s money personality type
Did you know, similar to our personality traits, we have money personality traits? One of our advisors, Emily Biehler, wrote a blog post on this a while back with some great insight into the 6 different money personality types most people fall within. Here is a refresher:
- Security: Money helps you feel safe and secure.
- Spontaneous: Money encourages you to enjoy the moment.
- Status: Money helps you create a positive image.
- Selfless: Money helps you feel good by giving to others.
- Free Spirit: Money is not a priority at this point in your life.
- Targeted Goals: Money is a tool to help achieve your goals.
Knowing your spouse’s money personality type will help you learn how to communicate with them on money-related issues.
As we look to financial matters in relationships, the focus tends to be on the problems money causes rather than the positive impact being on the same page financially can have. Intentionality, planning and communication are key!