Dynamic money duos: Savers vs spenders in a relationship
20 September 16
Reading time: 4 minutes
Posted by Tom Hartmann in Relationships Budgeting 0 Comments
If you’re one half of your own superhero team and have a partner, your money needs to work for you both. The aim is to build a wealthy life together and above all make love not poor. Yet that goal depends so much on the money decisions we make with those we love.
What kind of partners are you? Spenders? Savers? One of each? Who we’re with greatly influences how much we get ahead.
(It’s probably more of a spectrum, really, but each of us tends naturally to lean towards spending or saving. For a more nuanced look, cuddle up on the loveseat and fire up Sorted’s money personality quiz. You’ll understand a lot about each other.)
The good news is that people and relationships evolve, and the kind of partnership we’re in doesn’t need to be static. (I’m not even talking about changing partners, either.) Relationships are dynamic after all.
The more we study about what really moves partners forward with their finances, the more that familiar patterns come to the surface. The Commission for Financial Capability, which sponsors this blog, has been interviewing dozens of folks about their experiences. Here are the three dynamics that typically emerge:
Spender + Spender = Delirium Until Disaster
Two spenders as partners will probably have a blast… for a short while at least. They’ll end up egging each other on to new heights – and perhaps to new lows in terms of net worth.
Our brains have a hard enough time keeping track of what we spend ourselves; imagine attempting to wrangle two people’s spending on a binge!
The reckoning comes when the bills are due, and because money problems are among the biggest causes of splits, something will need to change to be successful. In this dynamic, it’s often the long-term picture that suffers. Today might be great, but the ability to fund tomorrow might be a challenge.
Saver + Spender = Conflict or Salvation?
Because opposites attract, this will be familiar: spenders hook up with savers; savers hook up with spenders. There’s typically a bit of a tug of war between the two sides (even if it’s amicable or under the radar), followed by some sort of compromise.
The spender will slow down the saver’s progress. (Or should I say the couple’s progress!) So either the saver will relax their standards for the sake of harmony at home, or they’ll end up taking the reins.
If the saver decides to let up on their saving – perhaps weary of always being the handbrake on spending – it will come at a future cost to the couple. They won’t get ahead as quickly as they could.
Saver + Saver = Progress (With a Caveat)
Two savers can get ahead together, supporting each other in their progress. This is where it can be easiest to achieve our goals. It can also strengthen the relationship and set us on the path to that wealthy life together. (However you define “wealthy”, there can definitely be more of it when you work towards it as a couple.)
Here’s that caveat: two savers will thrive, provided they are saving for agreed-upon goals. Without shared goals and being on the same page, they’ll both end up hoarding money to go in separate directions.
Sorted’s new goal planner can help you both hang some targets for the short, medium and long term.
As I mentioned, a relationship need not be stuck in any of these three models – happily, people can change. My dynamic duo partner and I started out as two spenders, then she was the saver and I the spender, and then we both became savers.
Like I said, dynamic.
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