When do you bring up money in a relationship? On the first date? When you’re about to move in together? Perhaps your answer is never because it’s a constant source of tension and friction so you both dance around the subject?
Or perhaps because one of you identifies as a spender and the other as a saver, you’ve assumed one is bad and the other is good with money. Money becomes a shameful thing that you feel uncomfortable talking about or is filled with judgement and a twinge of anxiety or even fear.
Money is the number one thing couples fight about
The good news is, you’re not alone in feeling uncomfortable talking about money with your loved one.
Relationships Australia research consistently reports that money is the number one thing couples fight about and we’re fighting about it on average twice a month.
Throw in a global freaking pandemic where money stress is heightened and is it any wonder that tension about money is causing problems in relationships?
And that most of us are unwilling to bring it up unless we’re ready to start an argument.
Curiosity vs judgement
But what if there could be a better way? What if we could talk about money in a way that is brimming with curiosity rather than judgement?
One of the hurdles we face when it comes to money is that we’re not used to recognising or observing our financial behaviours so, in the absence of this, sometimes having a system or catalogue to guide us is helpful. That’s where understanding both you and your partners’ Money Types can help you both understand each other better - and help you do money better together.
The Four Money Types
I’ve identified four different Money Types to help you define and recognise how you innately behave when it comes to your finances:
The Worker: The most pragmatic of the Money Types believes hard work will get you everywhere. Habits that are right for the Worker include extreme automation and weekly financial check-ins.
The Creator: The most idealistic of the Money Types believes if you dream it, you can do it. Habits that are right for the Creator include money mantras and gamification
The Discerner: The most judgemental and cynical of the Money Types believes you can think your way to success. Habits that are right for the Discerner include financial challenges and habit stacks.
The Relator: The most empathetic and collaborative of the Money Types believes success comes through collaboration. Habits that are right for the Relator include making your goals emotional and your accountability social
How does understanding your different Money Type help your relationship?
It's important to understand that there are no good or bad Money Types. No one Money Type is better than another and all can have strengths and weaknesses. If you identify with more than one Money Type, again, you’re not alone. That’s because most of us are a hybrid of two Money Types with one being dominant and one being secondary.
You’re not doing money ‘wrong’
What may be happening in your household, if you and your partner are two very different Money Types, is you may be assuming each other is doing money wrong. When really, you’re simply doing money in a way that feels natural for you.
By applying curiosity to each other’s Money Types instead of judgement, you can come up with habits and approaches that embrace the strength of both of your Types and minimise the weaknesses. In that way, you’ll both feel safe, supported and seen.
Of course, this is just as important for business relationships as it is for romantic relationships. It’s about understanding how we innately behave and then creating great habits and a language around how you can harness the strengths of your individual types and minimise the weaknesses.
Melissa Browne is a serial entrepreneur and author of Budgets Don’t Work (But This Does). She’s an ex-accountant, ex-financial-advisor and ex-working till she drops – and now works with women particularly, helping them build wealth and grow their business. You can find more about her at melissabrowne.courses