You’re probably familiar with the saying, “Friendship and money don’t mix.” When you complicate friendships with money, many believe nothing good can come from it. 

What about love and money? 

According to a recent survey, financial stress is one of the top reasons that marriages fail and couples divorce. Often, opposite attitudes about money or differing financial priorities and goals can lead to arguments and potential rifts in a relationship. Financial incompatibility can be a dealbreaker in a relationship, and it can seem impossible to find common ground over money matters.

Fortunately, there are a few practical strategies to bridge the gap between different financial habits. By fostering understanding, communication, and shared goals, couples can work together to create good financial habits that help them build a more financially secure and fulfilling future.

Understanding Your Financial Personality and Habits

Different financial personalities have different, distinct financial habits. 

Some people are savers, who find security and stability in accumulating savings for the future. Others are spenders, who embrace the joy of instant gratification in the present. Identifying your own financial personality (and that of your partner) is essential to understanding your money mindset and the potential areas of friction in your relationship.

Upbringing and personal experiences can have a significant influence on financial habits. Perhaps you or your partner were raised in a family that had a conservative approach to money management, and this led you to become a natural saver. Or, perhaps your (or your partner’s) family had a more relaxed attitude toward money, and you tend to spend more liberally. 

Recognizing the roots that have influenced your financial habits can help you have a deeper understanding of your and your partner’s perspective on finances.

By distinguishing your strengths and weaknesses (and those of your partner), you can engage in more meaningful conversations on financial habits and how to find a balanced approach to money management.

Find Common Ground

As a couple, you can identify shared financial goals and aspirations you both have. Even though you have different financial habits, there are likely overall objectives that you can both rally behind and work together to achieve.

You and your partner may need to compromise on some issues to accommodate your different financial habits. But if you acknowledge each other’s priorities and meet in the middle, you can create a financial plan that aligns with your shared values. 

Finding common ground creates a partnership in managing your finances, and you can share a sense of accomplishment as you reach your goals, strengthening your relationship. The journey can be just as important as the destination.

Set a Budget to Work Towards Your Shared Goals

Creating a joint budget is a great way to align financial habits and combine finances in your relationship. By merging your income, expenses, and savings goals, you’ll have a complete picture of your shared financial situation. This can help you establish a unified approach to money management so that you can make informed decisions together. 

How you allocate funds in your joint budget should reflect both your and your partner’s priorities: discuss and agree on how much income should be dedicated to savings, discretionary spending, and shared expenses. A thoughtful, well-structured budget ensures that both you and your partner contribute to and benefit from your financial plan.

Set short-term and long-term financial objectives together, which can act as a roadmap for achieving your shared goals. Do you want to pay off debt? Do you want to save for a home or vacation? Do you want to boost your retirement savings or investment accounts to prepare for the future? By planning as a couple, you can encourage shared accountability and responsibility for financial success.

Remember to be flexible in your financial plan—unexpected expenses or changes in income can happen. Life’s curveballs may require you and your partner to revisit and adjust your budget and financial plan. Adapt as needed, but stay committed to your overall shared financial goals.

Prioritize Communication and Trust

Open and honest communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship—make sure you and your partner can always talk freely to each other about finances, so that you both feel heard and understood.

Conversations about financial habits and money management can be sensitive, but encouraging communication builds trust and creates a solid foundation for tackling any financial challenges together. Have regular check-ins on your financial journey with your partner to make sure you both stay on the same page: address any concerns, revisit your goals, and adjust your financial strategies as needed. 

Celebrate Financial Milestones Together

Every financial achievement, whether big or small, deserves recognition. Celebrate reaching your financial goals together—consistently sticking to a budget, paying off debt, buying a home, hitting a target in your savings or investment accounts. Take a moment to acknowledge milestones and share in the successes of your financial journey.

Commemorate reaching financial milestones: maybe it’s a special date night, a mini-vacation, or a joint purchase. Celebrating together strengthens your relationship and reminds you both that your financial journey together is not only about reaching the destination, but also about cherishing the memorable moments along the way.

Build a Strong Financial Foundation Together

Managing different financial habits can be complicated, and you may sometimes feel that you and your partner can’t seem to meet in the middle when it comes to money management. It can be helpful to seek out the expertise of a financial advisor, who can look beyond your individual financial personalities and find that common ground. 

Financial advisors can act as an objective guide to encourage you and your partner to communicate and be open to compromises. Their knowledge and experience can help you both navigate challenges, make decisions, and build a solid financial foundation for your future together. 

At Five Pine Wealth Management, we can work with you and your partner to create a roadmap to financial success. We’ll focus on your short and long-term goals to help you develop a comprehensive financial plan that takes into account all aspects of your shared life together. 

And as fiduciary financial advisors, we’ll always be committed to what’s in your best interests. To see how we can help, email us or contact us at: 877.333.1015. We’re here to help you and your partner, every step in your journey together.