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Money and Relationships: What happens when a spender and a saver fall in love?

Money and Relationships: What happens when a spender and a saver fall in love?
Are you a saver or a spender?

Money Bite-Size Read:

  • Money is a major cause of conflict within relationships.
  • Dating your financial opposite can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be.
  • Here’s what happens when a spender and a saver fall in love and what they can learn from each other about money.

The Money Bites Take:

While the spender and saver are opposite money personalities, each has something important to learn from the other about money.


Are you dating your financial opposite?

Money is of those things we discuss on the first date when the bill arrives and then rarely talk about again. However, just because we don’t talk about money, that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant, and the decision not to talk about it adds up.

Money is a massive cause of relationship break up.

Financial issues are still one of the leading causes of divorce today, including arguments over conflicting attitudes towards managing finances. Your attitudes are informed by your likes and dislikes, as well as your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money.

There are multiple theories about money personalities, but the two personalities that are the most established in academia are a spender and a saver. Research shows that the tightwad and spendthrift tend to marry each other because opposites attract, but they’ll face conflicts over finances. So how do opposite money personalities manage money together?




Here’s what happens when a spender and a saver fall in love and what they can learn from each other about money:




1. Are you a spender?

Let’s dive in by first looking at the most glamourous personality: the spender. You know you’re a spender if you feel happiest when spending money. You love to splurge, whether it’s shopping for the latest trends or showing love by buying gifts for those you care about. However, if you don’t monitor how much you’re spending, you can experience cash flow issues and experience guilt about how much you’re spending.




2. Are you a saver?

The antidote to the spender is the saver. You know you’re a saver if you feel happiest when saving money. You have a savings account and likely know much you have accumulating in it. However, you may experience regret when missing out on experiences with friends and family when you prioritise saving money above all else. You are also likely to delay or avoid getting started with investing because it might risk your savings.




3. You need to talk about money

Money can be awkward to talk about for the first time. A great way to talk about money is to identify your money attitudes to your partner, including what is important to you. Communicate this to your partner clearly, and don’t expect them to read your mind. Try to articulate your money personality and why you feel this is the case, including any support you want from your partner.




4. Challenge but don’t guilt and shame

Talking about money brings a lot of emotion with it. Instead, ask questions that will challenge your partner during the conversation to help articulate their money values or what’s important to them when it comes to money. Your goal should be to understand their perspective and why they feel the way they do about money, not to cause them to feel guilt or shame.




5. Be open to learning from each other

The greatest thing is when a spender and a saver realise that they are the antidote to each others’ money personalities issues. The spender can help a saver relax and enjoy the purchases they have worked hard to earn, rather than feeling guilty about them. The saver can help the spender to prioritise their spending so that it supports their financial goals. Learning from the strengths of each personality can help round out the extremes of your money habits.




6. Keep some financial independence

While you may wish to start combining money, it pays to keep some financial independence. You should each have a pot of money that is yours to spend or save as you wish. There’s no judgement in this equation as you each can use the money as you want, and you both have equal power to make financial decisions without asking your partner.




7. Set some shared financial goals

When you start combining your money, you need to have conversations about spending money together. If you have shared expenses like grocery bills, discuss a reasonable amount to spend and define what a shared expense is and isn’t. You should also establish shared financial goals and work with a financial advisor to do this when relevant.

A spender and saver can be the antidotes to each other’s money hang-ups.

When you take the time to have conversations about money in relationships, you can better understand your partner’s perspective. So leave judgement at the door and be open to learning from each other to build a stronger shared financial future.

Written by Kate Crowhurst

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