Guys who come up to women in bars and ask: "hey baby, what's your sign?" Since statistics reveal that couples fight over money more than any other issue, maybe a better question to start off a potential relationship is to first find out the other person's money personality.
I just learned about money personality typing in a recent workshop and it is quite fascinating. Basically there are four personality types:
Savers embrace the concept of putting something away for a rainy day. Savers describe themselves as responsible. Some of their friends may describe them as stingy or tightwads. Having money make hoarders feel in control and secure. The downside of being a Hoarder is that you may carry it too far and never enjoy what you have accumulated. It could be no fun to live with an extreme Saver.
On the other side of the coin are the Spenders. These folks love instant gratification. You make money to spend it. Funny thing about Spenders are that they are usually not only spending money, but other resources too, like energy, and passion. So, it may be a blast to hang out with an extreme Spender (just imagine going shopping with one), it may also be exhausting and the pleasure fleeting. Another potential problem is that extreme Spenders will spend money they don't have and accumulate huge debts.
Bobby McFerrin wrote the song "Don't worry, be happy" just so these folks can have their theme song. They seldom bother even opening their bank statements. It's just too much trouble to balance their check books. "Gosh darn, did I send in a payment late again? You see, I really needed to wash my car and get a haircut and.." If you are a fellow Avoider, you probably will get along famously with one. If you like your life orderly, you're in for a rough time, and may find yourself taking on all the money management tasks in the relationship.
The Money Monks
This groups termed themselves "Holier than dough". They are too spiritual to be concerned about something as pedestrian as money matters. Consequently, they very seldom have any money to be concerned about. Again, if you are paired with a Money Monk, you may have to shoulder the money management responsibilities all your own.
I have intentionally described these personalities to the extreme. Not many people are quite that extreme. However, we all have a tendency to be closer to one type than the rest. So, think about how you operate and if you have to categorize yourself, what is your money personality type? What is the type of your significant other? Based on your answers, can you anticipate what issues you would have with each other regarding the issue of money? Even if you both are the same money personality, what money issues are you facing? What are you unhappy about in regards to your money situation? What's one action can you commit to that will improve that situation?
If you are a couple who tend to fight over how each other spends money, here's a suggestion: decide on an amount (call it an allowance or whatever you like) that you each get monthly. Choose an appropriate amount based on your income and financial situation. Regardless of how much each party earns, the amount MUST be the same for both. Then make a pact that you each get to spend that allowance whichever way you choose no questions or criticism from either party. If you are a Saver, and decided to put your allowance into the bank, but your wife went out and bought herself a Kate Spade bag, that's okay, because that is the agreement. How many arguments could you have avoided if you had this arrangement in place?
Now that you know about money personalities, figure out what you like about your personality and what you would like to change. Then ask your partner: "what's your money personality?"
© 2004 Inez O. Ng
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Do you need some structure and accountability to propel you forward? Personal Coach Inez Ng has worked with professionals and entrepreneurs to transform their aspirations into reality. While focusing on specific areas, her coaching positively impacts all areas of her clients' lives. Learn more about coaching with Inez at http://www.RealizationsUnltd.com