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Money and Marriage: Financial Personalities

March 24, 2011

Is it time for you and your spouse to take a money retreat?

In a relationship, money always is a touchy subject. We are usually attracted to those who are different than us; we like characteristics in others that we do not have. This is may be exciting when it comes to dating, but it can be a completely different story after marriage.

What excited you in courtship can turn out to annoy you in marriage. This also is true with money. If you are very conservative with your money, you probably got a thrill if you dated someone who was willing to buy you nice things and provide you experiences you missed in the past. If you are a risk taker, you probably liked the consistency and security someone else brought to the relationship.

One of the keys to a strong marriage is to understand your partner. You need to know how they view money and what type of money personality they have. Financial planners Bethany and Scott Palmer used their experience working with couples to define five money personalities individuals have. More information on each of these can be found in their book, “First Comes Love, Then Comes Money.”

The first type of money personality is the “saver.” Savers get a thrill from saving money. They have learned how to pinch every penny and always find the best deal. The saver carefully tracks every dollar that comes in and out. This person clips coupons and gets a rush from every cent saved.

Unfortunately, this person can be a little too zealous in saving. At times your home may be unbearable at 65 degrees in the winter and 75 degrees in the summer. You may be reluctant to buy savers gifts as you know they may not enjoy it if they know how much it cost. You may feel this person is a joy stealer as he or she does not want to splurge on anything that could create a lasting memory.

The second money type is the “spender.” The spender is the life of the party. Spenders are willing to buy the next round, not just for your table, but the entire place. Spenders also are usually the best gift givers. If they see something they know someone else would like, they buy it. There is a rush for these individuals whey they make a purchase.

Just like the saver, there also can be problems with the spender. They are willing to buy even if there is not enough money available. At times they will make impulse purchases and the item never will get used. Even if they provide an amazing Christmas for a family, the January credit card bill can be extremely painful.

A third money type is the “security seeker.” These individuals always prepare for the future. They are well prepared with the right types of insurance in place and a consistent retirement saving plan. The security seeker usually has a strong emergency fund in their savings account so if there is an unanticipated expense, there is money available to pay for it. This focus on what can go wrong also leads to problems. At times, the security seeker may have investments that are too safe and do not provide the growth needed for future needs.

The security seeker also can over-think decisions. The individual may not do anything as he or she thinks through things too much. Security seekers also can miss some of the best opportunities if there is chance something could go wrong.

Fourth you have the “risk taker.” The risk taker is willing to find new opportunities and make a decision. They are big-picture thinkers. When something goes wrong, it does not scare them, but provides a learning opportunity for their next adventure. The risk taker listens to his or her initiative and trusts his or her gut reaction.

Most of our billionaires are risk takers. They are willing to risk it all on the next big thing. Most people who are bankrupt also are risk takers. This is one of the drawbacks. The risk taker also is willing to quit doing something that is successful if there is another opportunity that looks more promising. The risk taker does not worry about the details, which can cause trouble with accumulating debt and taking care of day-to-day expenses.

The final money type is the “flyer.” The flyer is an individual who flies by the seat of his or her pants. Money is usually not an issue for the flyer. Flyers are not motivated by money and tend to be pretty happy with life. Unfortunately, there are things in life we need money for, and this can cause the flyer trouble. They usually do not save for the future and this can cause trouble for flyers down the line.

It is important that each spouse understands each other. This can start with figuring out how your spouse feels about money. If you are a security seeker, it is going to be tough for you to take some risks. If you are a spender it will be difficult for you to put more money into savings.

There are other important things you can do in your relationship to improve how you deal with money, but the first step is to figure out your thoughts about money and how your partner feels about money.


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