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Have you heard of love languages? The book by Gary Chapman goes into a theory that we express love in 5 different ways:
- Words of affirmation;
- Quality time;
- Physical touch;
- Acts of service;
- Receiving gifts.
Now if your partner is an “acts of service” kind of person, and you’re a “words of affirmation” kind of person, you may get into situations where your partner is doing all these great things for you to help around the house etc, but they don’t land as “love” to you because you need to hear the words being said.
It’s the same for money!
Money In Relationships
One partner being “bad” with money is cited to being the second most common reason why a couple divorces. That’s a huge number of relationships that could have worked out if money did not get in the way.
We all have blocks and blindspots about money, and often this comes from how we were brought up.
When getting into a relationship, you’re combining the net sum of both couple’s money issues, and when you don’t communicate about it, that’s where trouble can begin.
Honesty is absolutely the best policy, but I know how hard it can be to “fess up” to something with a person you care deeply about. I had this issue with my husband when we were dating. We wanted to move in together and I had to confess to all the debt I was in.
Thankfully he was very understanding and went ahead with our house purchase on his own while I sorted out my finances. He went into our marriage knowing full well the kind of person I had been with money in the past, and could see how I was turning it around. We’re now set to buy our next house together this year, and it feels so good to be able to do that with him now.
What Is Your Money Love Language?
We each have our own way of managing money, and often it originates from how our care-givers did money, or rebelling against what they did to do your own thing. I identify this with my coaching clients very early on in the process, because it shapes so much of how we work together.
The money personality quiz that I talk about a lot with my community comes from Kendall Summerhawk. It is an incredible system that looks into 8 different money personalites and how 3 in particular impact on how we do everything in life, not just money.
Each money personality type has a healthy expression (gifts), and an unhealthy expression (challenges).
Your exact expression of these types is your money love language.
While it is aimed at women, it can absolutely translate to men too. I’m going to give you an overview of each of them. See if you can spot which 3 most resonate with you, and which 3 most resonate with your partner. Are they similar, or different?
People who strongly identify with this are not so interested in money, but have a strong connection with their purpose. They are happy to bring money in from all sources, but it’s usually enough to (just) cover the bills, and even when there is nothing in the account and a bill is due, money always seems to just turn up somehow.
This personality type is also not fussed about money, and would rather “someone else” deal with it – a financial adviser, a partner etc. They are definitely “bury head in the sand” kind of people, and would rather focus on anything else but their finances. They’re about people, not money.
A ruler is very ambitious and highly driven. When it comes to money there is “never enough” and they constantly strive for more, more, more all the time. They are perfectionists with big visions for themselves and others. They don’t tend to take breaks and can often burn out because of it. They’d rather spend money on their career or business prospects.
These big-hearted individuals are all about helping others. They don’t need to be a parent, but they definitely like to take care of people. They give away their time and money, and feel uncomfortable asking for money. This can lead to undercharging, not invoicing or overgiving… ultimately burning them out.
The celebrity loves spending money on status symbols because it makes them feel special. Cars, shoes, handbags, VIP travel. If it’s lux, they want it. This often doesn’t come with the finances to underpin the spending, and so can often be in debt to achieve the lifestyle they want everyone to see (and to hide what they feel they lack).
This personality hates spending money, on anything. They struggle to trust others with their money and while they know that they can’t hoard their money in a matress, the idea of putting it at risk through investing makes their blood run cold. They love a bargain and are coupon extraordinaires!
A maverick personality is a risk taker. They love “get rich quick” and have “shiny object sydrome” because they get bored easily. The idea of saving money sends them to snoozeville. They’d rather check out the latest trending stock or cryptocurrency than build a financial foundation. While they can be very good at money, this tendancy to risk it can get them into trouble.
Finally, the Romantic is another spender. This time it’s for ease and convenience rather than luxury. They want nice things and they don’t like to be told “no”. A romantic won’t think twice about buying something to skip queues or have the easy option. They work smart, not hard.
What If They Are Different?
So once you’ve worked out which ones resonate with you and your partner, reflect on what that means for you as a couple. If they are different types, do they complement or clash?
In my experience of coaching this, all archetypes can complement eachother, but I think they can clash when the types are being expressed in their “shadow” side or unhealthy expression of the type.
So for example, when a connector buries their head in the sand about money and they allow their maverick partner to look after the money. If the maverick partner is also in an unhealthy expression, this could spell financial disaster!
What If They Are Similar?
If the types are similar then it’s worth knowing what your other two highest ones are, because they can often give you a clue as to what else might be going on financially for you both. If you’re both rulers, but in second place one of you is a maverick and the other is a celebrity, you will both express your money personality of the ruler differently with different motivations and drivers. Equally, you may both be ruler, but one may be in an unhealthy expression of it, and the other in a more balanced expression of it.
It can generate a fascinating discussion between you both.
How Do We Work Through This Together?
Working through money problems can be tricky, but it is worth doing. Avoid blaming or shaming language and come at this from a place of understanding of eachother’s money love language.
Everything starts with ourselves, so have a think about whether you are operating with your archetype’s gifts, or challenges. What about your partner? Does this cause friction and tension? How can you make things more harmonious between you?
Other good things to discuss include:
- Your upbringing around money (what did you learn?)
- Your thoughts on the day-to-day management of money (do you think it addresses each of your needs?)
- What you want for the future (does it align, and how can you do it together?)
Make a commitment to eachother that you’ll have regular date-nights to discuss this. Have some way of recording what’s going on, be it a spreadsheet or a notebook that you can be access. It helps you to stay on track with what was agreed.
If either of you make a mistake and go off budget, rather than blaming eachother, why not make up a fake “third party” to put the blame on? This helps to diffuse an arguement and actually make light of what has happened with a view to correcting the mistake for next month. It’s not an excuse to sweep problems under the carpet.
If you struggle to do this without getting into a fight, why not hire a money coach to help? There are money coaches out there who specialise in helping couples to work through their money problems. Often a few tweeks can make a big difference!
If one of you has a serious problem with debt or gambling, it is important to seek support from specialists who can help in their areas. A regulated debt adviser, or charity like step change can help. This resource is useful for help with gambling problems.
Final thoughts on your money love language
What do you think of this? What’s your money love language? Have a guess at what your partner is and see how you can bring some understanding and compassion to your money conversations. Set up a date that works for the two of you and figure out how you can respect eachother’s personality type and play to your stengths. You’ll be unstoppable!
Until next time,
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