When opposites attract

September 27th, 2013 Cindy Roberts

In 2009, researchers at the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern discovered that, when it comes to love and money, opposites attract. Using surveys of married adults, the study revealed that “tightwads” and “spendthrifts” tend to marry each other.

While no couple is perfectly matched when it comes to money, when two partners find themselves on the opposite ends of the spectrum, it’s common for tension to arise. Here are some things you can do if your partner is your “money opposite.”

Become a good listener.

The act of listening becomes even more important for couples who have opposite money personalities. Make a conscious decision to approach every conversation about money with an open mind and truly listen to your partner’s perspective.

When it comes to managing money, the approach we take is typically shaped by our individual life experiences and preferences. Recognize that your partner’s financial methods and decisions differ from yours not because he or she wants to pick a fight; they simply have a different approach.

Couples that master the art of listening to and understanding each other are more likely to end up making good choices in the long run.

Create a budget.

Determine what your income is and what your short- and long-term expenses are. Based on this information, you’ll be able to determine how much you can reasonably save on a monthly basis.

The key to making this work is to find ways to meet each of your core needs within a budget. Bringing in an outside financial advisor to help you define and implement your goals as a couple can also help you find balance in your money life.

Set aside “me money.”

One of the most effective ways to prevent resentment from building up between you is to set aside “me money” for each partner. Look at your joint budget and determine how much money each person can spend – or save – every month. This “me money” is completely judgment-free money and is off limits from the other partner.

By setting a monthly limit within your budget, both parties can happily use the money however they see fit without stirring up resentment from the other.

The most important money move you might make for your relationship is to embrace your differences. Understand that you cannot change your partner’s approach to money created by a lifetime of experience. Instead, try to cultivate the positive aspects of each of your styles. After all, a combination of your money styles may be the perfect solution.

Cindy Roberts

About the author

Cindy Roberts is Market President/Mortgage Lender at MidWestOne Bank. NMLS ID 641613.

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