Avoid major financial fights and misunderstandings by learning your money language.
By Jenny Hoff
You’ve likely heard about love languages, but you may not know much about money personalities. They could save your relationship. Financial issues are often listed as a top reason for divorce, and it doesn’t always come down to one person spending too much. Just like knowing a love language can help you show love in a way your spouse appreciates, knowing each other’s money personalities can help you communicate better and create a financial plan that works for both people. A healthy understanding of your money personalities can lead to fewer fights about money and more financial fidelity, such as not spending money or taking out credit cards on the sly without letting your better half know.
Financial planners and authors of the book The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language, Bethany and Scott Palmer, say knowing money personalities is just as important for financially stable couples as those who are still finding their financial footing.
“It doesn’t matter if you make $30,000 a year or $3 million a year. Couples are arguing about money all over the place and it’s because they view money differently. Money impacts just about every decision that we make, whether we like it or not,” Bethany Palmer says.
According to data the Palmers collected from interviewing their clients and having thousands of people take their assessments, each person has a primary and secondary money personality, and they believe it’s something everybody is born with. It’s not changeable, but it’s learnable. They believe couples who learn their own and their partner’s money personalities can much better understand actions and decisions with less judgment.
The five money personalities the Palmers identified are:
• the saver. This person not only wants to save money himself or herself, but wants others to save as well.
• the spender. This person likes to spend money on himself or herself and also give gifts to others.
• the risk taker. This personality encompasses the entrepreneurs of the world, those who always have a new idea they want to bring to fruition.
• the security seeker. This person needs to have a plan in place at all times.
• the flyer. This person flies by the seat of his or her pants when it comes to money. Money is not a primary thought; relationships are.
Savers and security seekers are on one side of the spectrum, while spenders and risk takers are on the other. While many people have opposing primary and secondary personalities (a saver/spender is someone who wants to save money but loves giving gifts), the real clash comes when a person is partnered with someone on the other side of the spectrum.
The Palmers say to overcome those clashes, couples should make a concerted effort to connect and communicate to avoid major fights and misunderstandings. Their three recommendations are:
1. money dump. This is an annual chat in which you “dump” everything on the table regarding your thoughts and feelings about your money situation. It should be done in a loving, honest and positive way.
2. money huddle. This is a monthly meeting in which you discuss your needs and dreams. Financial planning is done separately.
3. fighting fair. When in an argument, a person uses tools to fight in a way that doesn’t inflict permanent damage on the relationship or attack the other person’s character. It should concern the topic at hand and be kept civil and respectful.
By understanding your underlying personalities, why and how you make decisions and keeping the discourse honest, open, continual and civil, you can bring more romance to your relationship year-round. It’s 2020, so make it the year you get more clarity about what drives your money decisions and how you can keep financial fights at bay.
If you’re interested in taking the assessment, check out themoneycouple.com.
GETTING YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER IN 2020: FEBRUARY TASK
Check your credit score and credit report. You can keep tabs on your credit score for free through a site like creditkarma.com, but you should also check your credit report once a year through annualcreditreport.com. Make sure you recognize all the accounts under your name and dispute anything that seems suspicious.