We all know that Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. This can create real problems if couples have misaligned money values.
Money compatibility is hardly the first thing you think about when cupid's arrow strikes. So we have to learn to live financially with the partner we choose. The alternative is endless arguments and even marital break down.
Our attitudes to money are laid down at a very young age and can be nigh impossible to change.
Even as romance blossoms you need to be clear about your finances. Is what's yours, mine? Or will you have a pre-nuptial agreement? Will you have joint or separate accounts? It may be academic because after you have been together three years (or less if you have children), your money becomes relationship property anyway.
Ideally couples will invest together for their long term financial future. But the first hurdle is spending patterns, which usually require compromise. Some couples get over this by having individual accounts credited with a set monthly allowance for frivolous purchases, which he can spend on gadgets and she on clothes and cosmetics…..or vice versa.
Once you're over that hurdle you need to be in sync with your investing and understand each other's risk tolerance so that you sing from the same song sheet.
If one of you is a risk taker and the other risk averse, you're going to need to learn to handle each other's approach. You can test your risk tolerance at the website Myrisktolerance.com – and every couple should do so.
Next you'll need to agree on goals and objectives. It's all well and good saving. But what if you're saving to buy a rental property and he thinks the money's going on a boat or bach for the family?
One thing that smacks me in the face every time I read Wellingtonian Rhonda Pritchard's book How Money Comes Between Us is how people can view the same concept such as fairness quite differently, and no single opinion is write or wrong.
If money is an issue in your relationship it's worth getting a copy of Pritchard's book or one of the many others about couples and money. There are so many issues that we simply don't think about until confronted.
For example, what if:
- One person is a spender and the other a saver?
- Both people want to control the purse strings because their mother or father did?
- You inherit money? Should an inheritance be used to pay off the joint mortgage or stay separate property?
- You lose trust in a partner, perhaps because he or she is a gambler?
Just talking issues through can be quite fraught. There's a great "how to" guide on About.com worth reading for some ideas. You'll also need to establish a negotiation process.
Finally, it can be interesting to take some money quizzes together such as the on BankRate.com. They can be a good starting point for discussions.
Can you share any experiences about this topic?