The first step is to identify the money personalities embedded in a couple. Without this understanding, it is difficult to empathize with your partner, accept his or her behaviors and outbursts (or a lack of them) as an extension of their money personality. For instance, savers are generally more reserved while spenders may be less constrained. Recognizing these traits can help in calming tensions and preventing small arguments from blowing out of proportion. Just make sure your priorities/goals related to finances are close to the same and negotiated.
It is also important that partners communicate openly about what they like and dislike about each other’s money personalities and strategize to work together for amicable solutions. Couples can make an effort to try to learn the intentions of the other before judging and therefore make informed money decisions that are sensitive to each other’s mutual needs. Greater success for couples could also be achieved where more men encourage their partners to participate in the household finances (or vice versa) and offer help through it, while more women need to let their partners know that they wish to be consulted on household, luxury, investment or insurance related purchases.
For new couples, it is best not to merge finances too quickly, including right after or just before living together or getting married. Conflicts can arise when opposing money personalities tie their spending habits to a shared pool. Instead, merging most of the common assets for savings, investments and spending, and separating the rest into two to serve unique spending habits and needs, can avoid conflict. When a couple does begin to merge its finances, it may be best to permanently leave a few assets separate or at least maintain separate accounts for discretionary spending so that each person can use their amount as desired and avoid conflict.
Turning to professional help for guidance can also help couples reduce their conflict about how they manage money. A mortgage specialist can help you obtain pre-approval before committing to purchase a home and a financial advisor can quote life insurance for you before children are born and help you understand how much you need to set aside if you are to fund your children’s education or your retirement.
Similarly, talking with a debt/credit counsellor or professional bankruptcy trustee can help you to see the spending patterns that are causing relationship and financial overload and help you arrive at new money strategies or resolution. At A.C. Waring & Associates Inc., we can provide credit counselling and debt solutions. Come in and see us together at First Edmonton Place in Edmonton, Alberta. Contact us at (780) 424-9944 or 1-800-463-3328 today to set up an appointment.