You want it bad. You don’t want to wait, you want it now. You dream about it every night; just the thought of it makes you giddy. It’s perfect and is exactly what you’ve been wanting for such a long time. Certainly the time is right to go buy it, isn’t it? But wait… will he agree? Does he still see it as frivolous, unnecessary and too expensive? He keeps saying it’s not in our budget and no, the time is not right. Why, oh why, can’t we agree on how to spend our money?
Does this sound familiar? Maybe you are the one who doesn’t want to spend the money and your partner has something he wants to buy? No matter which way it goes, there are many things in life between couples where one wants to spend and the other disagrees. Either the timing is wrong, the thing isn’t what they wish to spend upon or they simply hate spending money even on necessary or valuable things. It seems a common story in life how we partner with our opposites… one wants to save, the other wants to spend.
But is it really that simple? Although it might appear that way as you are butting heads with your loved one, it seems they are always against what you want to do. But yet, it really isn’t that simple. We each are a mixture of money beliefs and styles, not just one. Although we are usually more dominant in one than another.
Defined below are five basic money styles… keep in mind that none of us are only one style; we human beings are complex and multi-layered. We may totally tighten up in one area of our life and spend freely in another. For example, I tend to be a total tightwad when it comes to spending on cars but let me loose in a home goods store where, if I’m not careful, I could break the bank!
So, what are those money styles and beliefs anyway? And what do you do if your style is drastically different from your husbands?
- Builder – You are happiest when you have large amounts of money to spend, save or invest. You tend to equate your self worth with your net worth and the lack of money makes you feel like a failure or even deeply depressed. You prefer to make your own financial decisions and be in control of your money. You may be a bit of a control freak or worrier.
- Sidestepper – You tend to avoid dealing with money altogether. You don’t know how much money you have, owe or how much you spend. You tend to feel incompetent, inadequate or overwhelmed by money, often feeling anxious or paralyzed when you have to make decisions around it. You are happiest just enjoying the moment, the event or the thing and don’t wish to cloud it with managing and thinking about money.
- Tightwad Penny-Pincher – You like to save money. You have a hard time spending money on yourself or your loved ones, even for practical items. Most spending feels frivolous and unnecessary to you. You tend to have an orderly nature and saving for a rainy day feels good to you. You tend to keep your money close to you, often investing in secure, safe investments.
- Activist – You identify with people of modest means and are uncomfortable with those who amass wealth. You believe that accumulating wealth is a form of selling out or being greedy or selfish. You are most comfortable with a moderate lifestyle and if you do invest, most likely you’ll invest in socially responsible investments.
- Spender Giver – You enjoy spending money on possessions, goods and services. You find great satisfaction in buying gifts for others, many times more extravagant than you can afford. You struggle with saving and quite often you find yourself in debt. You tend to spend most or all of what you earn. You enjoy buying and giving.
Do you recognize yourself or your partner in any of these money styles? Which one resonates the most for you?
The names I have given to each style are simply for ease of identifying what style best fits you. Each style has qualities that are beneficial and aspects that are detrimental. Identifying those qualities and aspects will help you determine what you wish to enhance or what you may wish to work upon.
And yet, what do you do if your money style is so at odds with the person you live with; the person you need to find common ground in order to live peaceably?
Here’s what I suggest and what I have counseled over the years to couples about their money and differences in their money styles. It’s a simple approach, but one that takes dedication and a true desire to come together.
First, set aside some quiet time. Ask your partner to join you in this exercise to help you come to a common understanding together. I encourage you to do it on your own anyway, even if your partner is unwilling.
Second, identify your main money style. Determine what in that style is beneficial and what is a detriment to your money health.
Third, identify your partners main money style. What are the benefits and detriments to this style?
Fourth, take those two lists and notice where your beneficial qualities fill in the detriment aspects of your partner. What does he do that enhances your money picture that you avoid and vice-versa.
Fifth, accept and embrace those differences. More than likely those differences were what attracted you to your partner in the first place! Remember you are not meant to be exactly the same and how so boring that would be! You are different for a reason and that is to help each other in those areas you yet need to grow.
I like to envision this balancing and acceptance of our differences as if you are upon a seesaw or teetertotter, the plaything in a playground.You are most successful with another playground friend on the other end to help you easily and effortlessly go up and down; to balance it and have joy in the ride. You adjust to the differences in your sizes and weight so that the up and down is more even and enjoyable to you both. If one of you gets off abruptly or without warning, the other thumps to the ground in a most uncomfortable way. Going it alone is simply not as much fun nor as easy. It is much more doable, fun and successful to have a playmate on the other end who adjusts to the differences in order to have the most enjoyment in the ride.