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When opposites attract

13 February 2014
Reading time: 4 minutes

Posted by Tom Hartmann , 0 Comments

It happens all the time: people on opposite ends of the personality spectrum somehow find each other and fall in love. It’s downright fascinating. Spenders find savers and get their ducks in a row; savers find spenders and learn to live a bit. Introverts marry up with extroverts, and we all sit around marvelling at how the jack and the queen make a perfect pair!

Inevitably in most relationships, one partner will gravitate towards managing the everyday money. It just comes naturally that way (although roles can switch over time), and we all need to play to our strengths, right?

But the question is: if your partner is the financial genius, how do you stay involved with what’s happening and play a full part in the decision-making as a couple?

Why checking out is not an option

“It’s simple – I make the money; she spends it.” I always get a bit uneasy for some reason when some guy uses those words to explain their household finances to me – especially in our modern day. It somehow feels irresponsible and clueless, as if he’s left it all to her.

No one person should be left alone with the burden of banking or being the money cop at home. It can get overwhelming, to say the least.

The other extreme example is when couples separate. If he’s been managing all the money, she may have absolutely no idea how – or where – the cash has been flowing. It can be a harsh awakening.

So while the bill paying is probably best left to one person, the family finances need sorting by both parties. It literally pays to stay engaged and work it out together.

It all comes back to communication

Simply put, we need to confide in each other. If financial problems get left to one partner alone, that can be a wrecking ball just waiting to swing, with the relationship left shattered as a result.

To state the obvious, relationships are about sharing – but not just sharing the joys and intimacy. They’re about sharing the burdens as well, and finding that they are lighter as a result.

Having the ‘money conversation’ is no easy task (and a sure-fire passion killer), and it turns out that many conversations are what’s needed. But it’s essential.

What are we really talking about? It can get so confusing when money conversations turn out not to be about money at all. So many are really about control, or self-esteem, or love. It’s easy to project emotional issues onto money matters, and call up all those money scripts we were raised with.

Make sure that it’s money you’re really communicating about and not some other relationship issue burning in the background. The sooner you get on the same page with your partner, the sooner you can focus on the steps you need to take.

Celebrating those differences

Which brings us back to playing to our strengths. If your partner is a talented bargain hunter, for example, maybe they should be more on the spending side of your budget and rein-in expenses. If you are more savvy about researching investments, perhaps your role should be to invest the savings and make sure you’re both getting ahead.

When you think about it, a spender in a relationship is really working on improving your quality of life right now. Savers, on the other hand, are improving your quality of life in the future.

No wonder opposites attract – there’s certainly room for both. 

Love the one you’re with

For some new insights into your relationship, you could both try Sorted’smoney personality profiler. Compare notes and learn each other’s styles!

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