Life & Beauty Weekly: Life & Love

By Catherine Ryan for Life & Beauty Weekly


When it comes to love, opposites attract — and that goes for your financial styles, too.

The two most common financial personality styles are spenders and savers, says Kelley Keehn, host of W Network’s Burn My Mortgage and author of The Money Book for Everyone Else. “Two similar spenders would be in trouble over the years, savers wouldn’t be likely to have as much fun, but spenders/savers couples that can communicate clearly over the years have a much better balance,” Keehn says.

Are you and your husband always arguing over how much he spends on golf? Or how much of your pay cheques to put towards a down payment on your dream house? Don’t despair: You can overcome your mismatched money personalities.

And tackling something tough, like paying off your credit cards, is good for more than just your bank balance. “Just as it would improve a couple’s health and relationship to work out together, it would also strengthen a couple’s financial muscles by having a common financial goal,” Keehn says. Here’s how to get started:

Study Your Money Styles
Does your husband pinch every penny, or do you splash out on unnecessary things? Identify your honey’s money traits and ask him to do the same for you. Careful, though: Finances are a highly emotional issue, so be careful not to judge. Ask questions and listen so he feels supported, not defensive.

Find a Common Goal
“I recommend that couples have a separate romance account and allocate a percentage of their household income to it,” says Keehn. “It needn’t be much, but saving up for this account and discussing what fun, impulsive and romantic ideas it can be used for is special while working towards other worthy goals.” Talk about where you see yourselves next year, in five years and in 10. Then, post visual reminders (a postcard of Pisa, maybe?) as inspiration.

Divvy up Tasks
“One person usually does all the budgeting, bill paying, etcetera — and if there isn’t enough money left at the end of the month, that person bears the total responsibility,” Keehn says. “I recommend a monthly family money meeting to check in with each other and assign duties, reassign possible duties, and just spend a few minutes getting on the same page.” You’ll both feel like you’re contributing to the partnership.

So you want to save to make some home improvements, but he wants to pay off his student loans early? You’ll have to find some middle ground.

“Back up and look at the big picture in your lives,” Keehn says. “Figure out what you both want and see a professional at least once a year as well to weigh-in on the major disagreements if/when they arise.” Talk about the underlying reasons behind your desires — maybe you want to add a playroom so your kids will have a fun place to hang out with their friends — to open up communication and make it easier to reach a decision. Consider setting up a savings account for each goal and contributing to each one equally every month. Your first priority, though, should always be to clear any credit card debt. You don’t need those high interest rates or the potential damage to your credit rating.

Take a Break
If you can’t agree on a spending decision, drop the subject and revisit it in a month. “Sometimes it can be solved with a break,” Keehn says. “And other times that can lead you down a path of ostrich-like behaviour — [if that becomes the case], seek professional help from a financial planner.”

Check in Periodically
Like your relationship, your finances need constant attention to succeed. Plan a monthly “money date” to re-evaluate your budget, incorporate any changes and celebrate successes.

The bottom line: Building your financial future together bolsters trust and respect in your relationship. “Money is simply an extension of a relationship and it definitely has an effect on a couple’s overall enjoyment with each other and life,” Keehn says.

Catherine Ryan
is a freelance writer and editor who writes on health, nutrition, beauty and green living for such magazines as
Self, Ode and
Parents. She is a frequent contributor to
Life & Beauty Weekly.

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