Money and Marriage: Understanding Your Financial Relationship

couples money relationship causes rift before help from a financial advisor

As a financial advisor, I understand that money plays a significant role in a relationship, and it's crucial to establish a healthy financial connection between partners. Like any other relationship, the harmony between spouses and their finances requires attention, respect, and understanding.

Of course, having regular communication about even the little things with money helps with that understanding.  As a point of reference, I want to share a personal story from a few weeks ago.  Since we’ve been married, my husband Adam and I have always taken a little time every Saturday to prepare our lunches for the week in advance.  We both enjoy the planning process that ensures we are set for the week with a healthy, convenient lunch, and of course, the savings have really added up.

A few weeks ago, though, everyone at the office spontaneously decided to enjoy a lunch eating out, and I decided that sounded like a great treat. When I told Adam, I think he was surprised, and he raised an eyebrow and stated, “Well, I guess now we won’t be able to go out this weekend.”  Of course, he was joking because, with three young kids, our ‘going out’ days are far and few between. At the same time, I realized my actions outside of the norm may have been slightly out of his comfort zone, and I know why…

See, part of my job as a financial planner at McBeath Financial Group is to help couples find common ground on their financial goals and values. This process can be likened to therapy that helps partners work together toward their financial objectives peacefully.

Identifying your money values and personalities is essential to developing a healthy financial relationship. It's essential to recognize each other's spending habits and motivations for spending or saving.

So, this is where I want to share a fun fact:  Each of us has one of the following five types of money personalities. Understanding where we fit in can shed light on our relationships:

  1. The Big Spender: They believe money is a way to bring happiness to themselves and others, often overspending when upset or bored.
  2. The Saver: They believe in saving money at all costs, keeping track of all money earned and spent, and being cautious with finances.
  3. The Entrepreneur: They get a thrill from overextending and stretching financially, investing in a business or property, viewing life as a game, and money as playing pieces.
  4. The Security-Craver: They crave financial security and take their time making purchases, checking balances frequently to ensure they have enough.
  5. The Idealist: They view money and consumerism as unsavory, preferring to dedicate themselves to innovative pursuits that don't focus on money.

When you know yours and your partner’s ‘money personality,’ it makes it easier to identify where you need to work together.  Fortunately for Adam and I, we are very closely aligned, so there is very rarely any conflict.  While he is a Saver, it may come as no surprise to you that I’m a Security-Craver.  (Probably a great trait for someone that does retirement planning.)  Understanding each other’s values has been not only healthy for our marriage but has been one of the keys to us keeping our own financial goals on track.

It’s also my experience that most couples aren’t as closely aligned in values as we are. It can be challenging. But, by working with a financial advisor and educating yourselves about money, you can develop a healthy relationship with your finances and achieve your financial goals together. We at McBeath Financial Group are committed to helping you understand your financial values and goals and creating a financial plan that aligns with them.

Julie Karstens is an Investment Advisor,  Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor (CTFA), a Fiduciary, and an experienced tax advisor who specializes in financial planning, investments, and insurance.

As a Lead Advisor on the McBeath Financial Group wealth management team, she utilizes advanced tools for in-depth calculations that analyze tax and retirement scenarios to help their clients avoid a future tax time-bomb.  Whether this means enjoying more of your hard-earned money in retirement or passing along assets to loved ones with less tax burden, planning makes the difference.


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