Money Differences in a Relationship: Are They Important?

The Best Ways to Approach Money Differences in a Relationship

Even the most harmonious couples need to put in a lot of effort to make the relationship work. And one of the most conflict-ridden issues that can lead to intense and bitter arguments is money differences. Here's how to deal with this hurdle:

Whether you've been married for several years or just met someone via online dating sites,  finances can cause a strain in any relationship. That's especially true if you have wildly different money experiences and approaches to saving. The contrasting views can lead to frustration, tension, and lots of conflicts. However, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to bring your mindsets together. In this article, we're going to look at the types of attitude people can have towards money and find opportunities to make the relationship financially harmonious. Sounds good? Then let's dive right in. 

Money Differences Come From Individual Financial Experiences

We all have habits and beliefs around money rooted deep in our childhoods. We've learned how to handle finances from parents and the people who brought us up and gotten both positive and utterly negative lessons. These have all shaped our behavior around money and contributed to decisions regarding credit, spending, budgeting, debt, etc. In other words, we can say that the lessons have developed our money personality types. And learning how to accept differences in a relationship starts with acknowledging each other's types. Here are the four most common ones:

  •   The ones who choose to ignore money matter altogether. They prefer not to manage their finances and not even talk about it.
  •   Wealth builders are prone to save money with a specific long-term goal in mind. They might want to build financial security, amass wealth, or start a business.
  •   The savers tend to save money without having a bigger picture about their purpose. They like to have some cash put aside for rainy days.
  •   An opposite of the category above is the spenders: people who love to buy something new every time they get a hold of some money. Although there's nothing wrong with getting some nice things every once in a while, some spenders can make impulsive purchases they don't really need.


The Benefits of Having Different Views on Money

The fact is that opposites often attract. And as the relationships evolve, couples often discover their partners' unique attitudes towards a plethora of things, including money. But that can be a good thing if you approach the differences with an open mind. For example, maybe you experienced lots of negativity around spending when you grew up. A partner who is an avid spender can help you lighten up and form more positive money beliefs. Or perhaps you're someone who tends to think about only finances when planning the next big career step. A spouse who has decided to ignore financial matters might expose you to the benefits of making decisions based on a heart's feeling.

Make Sure Your Expectations Match

So how to overcome financial differences in a relationship? One way to bring your different personalities together is to set clear expectations. Whether you intend to go on a trip every month, move to a better place next year, or none of that – you need to agree on it. Obviously, money differences in countries with lower incomes lead to different expectations than what you would have in places with high salaries. But the important thing is to discuss everything openly and reach a mutual agreement of what is achievable.

 Be Clear About Your Boundaries

What if the money or currency differences are so extreme that merging your lives seems impossible? For example, perhaps you've got your mind focused on attaining financial security, but your partner chooses to spend without any limits? Here's the thing: it's perfectly healthy to identify some financial deal breakers for yourself. These might include hiding money, not being willing to discuss finances, being in debt, etc. We all have boundaries we will not push, and there's nothing wrong with ending the relationship when your partner doesn't meet the requirements.

However, you should also avoid turning every nuisance into a deal-breaker. Keep in mind that often it's not the differences themselves that are the root of relationship problems. Here's what we mean by that.

The Real Reason Why Money Differences Divide People

The number one cause of conflict in money issues is neglecting and ignoring your spouse's input to financial matters and deciding to give it zero attention. No relationship can last long if partners don't have enough respect to listen and consider each other's viewpoints. So developing the ability to work out your finances together can often bring together even drastically different mindsets. Here's how to achieve that:

  •   Communicate openly about how you think is the best way to manage money in your relationship. Talking helps you understand each other and the basis of your partner's beliefs.
  •   Maintain respect for each other's views even if you don't agree 100%. You both might have different financial priorities, but pointing fingers will only cultivate resentment. Instead, you should focus on finding common ground and work together as a team towards a better financial future.
  •   Set some rules. For example, you can open a new bank account for your shared bills and decide how much each of you will contribute to it. Once you've talked it through, you are much less likely to run into disagreements later.
  •   Make sure all's fair. Unfortunately, when it comes to money, gender differences in income levels are still an issue. So if there's a notable gap between you and your spouse's salaries, you might want to consider splitting the expenses accordingly.

In Summary

 How much does money matter in a relationship? Well, it's important enough to cause bitter fights if the differences get left unaddressed. But the bottom line is this: being in a relationship means that you're in the same team. And if you're mindful of your unique personalities, you can use your different sides to work together. All you need to do is listen to your spouses' opinions, share your thoughts with them, and give thoughtful feedback. The results will be worth it: open and mutually respectful communication can improve your financial wellbeing and bring you together closer as a couple. What could be better?

How have you been able to deal with money differences in your relationships? Share your experiences in the comments.


Authors Bio: Miranda Davis

Mrs. Davis is a freelance writer sharing the insights on how couples can shake up their love lives in and out of the bedroom. Mrs. Davis enjoys researching, discussing, and writing on the topics of wellness, relationship, sex, psychology, parenting etc. She is currently doing specific research on the topic. Mrs. Davis loves sport, traveling and knitting.


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