When You and Your Spouse Approach Money Differently

Do you and your spouse have different natural approaches to spending, investments, and money in general? It’s not uncommon for couples to point to money as one of the largest causes of disagreements in their relationships.

According to a recent survey by Bread Financial, 64% of couples say they are financially incompatible with their significant other. And TD Stories 2021 Love & Money Survey reported that 32% of people are keeping a financial secret from their partner.

It’s very common for one spouse to be more frugal and conservative in their spending habits while the other would rather have the freedom to spend their money on the things they need or want here-and-now. How you and your spouse approach money can have a huge impact on your relationship and when you approach money from different perspectives, it can be an even harder topic to navigate.

For most of us, much of how we approach money, investing, and spending has come from our parents or what we have learned from making money mistakes along the way. Regardless of whether you tend to lean more toward “saving” or “spending,” we all have unique personalities and philosophies when it comes to finances.

When we encounter differences with our significant other regarding finances, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:


1. Communicate Honestly With One Another

Instead of addressing what you may see as “bad” financial behavior, have an honest conversation about your combined finances.

What are your hopes for the future? How do you view money and what are your goals? Share your perspective and then, just as important, listen closely to your spouse’s answer to those same questions.

(You can find some helpful tips for having an effective conversation with your spouse here.)

Once you have both answered these questions, you can then move on to how you work together to tackle finances as a team. It’s important to ask, “How can we work together to accomplish our individual and combined financial goals?” Just because you are a couple doesn’t mean every goal you have will be the same. However, this is an opportunity to create a plan together for how the financial plan could be accommodated to support the passions, goals, and perspectives of both you and your spouse.


2. Understand Your Spouse’s Relationship With Money

Whatever you and your spouse’s background and relationship with money is, it’s important to take the time to understand it. You may find that many of your financial arguments are rooted in a past experience, insecurity, or a false belief you or your spouse holds.

What did it mean for your spouse to be with or without money growing up? What does money represent to them? You may find that money is a means of security for your spouse. You might find that your spouse is more goal-oriented and finds joy in reaching financial goals. Or it could be something entirely different!

Taking the time to understand their relationship with money will help you approach conversations with understanding and empathy.


3. Create a Plan Together

It’s close to impossible to work toward a common goal as a team if you can’t agree to a plan. This plan needs to be realistic and take into account your current income, expenses, and long-term goals.

A great place to start is by scheduling a Retirement Blueprint Financial Review to go over your goals and current financial situation with our team.

Budgeting is certainly part of a financial plan, but it isn’t the whole plan. We don’t want to look at the creation of a plan as a restriction, but it is instead about aligning our efforts with the life you want to live together, both now and in the future.

Together, you’re asking the question: How can we align our goals with our combined spending, saving, and investing behaviors?


4. Spend Money Intentionally

It’s easy to feel a level of guilt and shame when you are the “spender” in the relationship. But it’s important to note that there is nothing wrong with being more prone to spending, especially in the context of a plan you have identified together with your spouse.

It can be helpful to give yourself the freedom to spend what is reasonable within the bounds of that plan.

Some couples designate an allowance or a set amount of money each month that each spouse can use to purchase whatever they desire. Whatever strategy you put in place, sticking to that plan will create more freedom for you to spend money intentionally without inadvertently creating stress for your spouse.


5. Save Money Intentionally

If you tend to be the more frugal one in the relationship, this one’s for you! We talk often about how important it is to save and invest money to be able to retire well, and your commitment to saving is a valuable trait.

Saving is a core part of a long-term financial plan, especially as we look towards reaching your retirement goals. It’s a huge blessing to be in a position where you have “more than enough” money set aside in savings.

However, it’s important to note that you don’t need to be afraid to enjoy your hard-earned dollars as well. There are so many ways your dollars can work for you in the here-and-now as well. Be sure to pause and smell the roses with your partner along the way. You don’t want to wait until retirement to start living your best life!

Money and financial planning can be a hard topic for couples, especially when you have different approaches and spending habits. It’s important that couples take the time to talk about money and what goals they want to achieve together.

Regardless of your differences, anyone and any couple can create a successful plan to meet their goals, stick to their plan, and fund their retirement. Reach out to our Advisors here at 210 Financial for a complimentary review of your finances and help creating your financial plan >>



Investment advisory products and services made available through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM), a Registered Investment Advisor.

This article is meant to be general and is not investment or financial advice or a recommendation of any kind. Please consult your financial advisor before making financial decisions. 2097847-11/23

Content prepared by Savage Content Collective

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