We’ve all heard the saying “Opposites attract”, but is it really true? Actually, several studies have confirmed that people do tend to choose partners whose personalities, traits, and belief systems resemble their own. And like-minded couples tend to validate each other’s beliefs and views, which leads to fewer conflicts and overall, a happier marriage.
But what happens if you and your spouse are financial opposites? Can you still make your marriage work? We can confidently say ‘Yes’ to that question, as there are numerous examples of couples who are financial opposites and have been married for many years.
Will it be easy? Probably not. Consider that Money is the #1 one thing couples fight about — in fact, a recent survey revealed that on average, couples argue three times a month about finances. Don’t despair though! There are many things you can do to reduce the conflict over money when you and your spouse are financial opposites.
Here are our top 5 tips on how to make a marriage of financial opposites work:
1. Don’t make ultimatums. You will have fights about money. Accept that. Even married couples who are not financial opposites fight about money. One thing that will help though, when arguing about money, is don’t make ultimatums. Typical money fights end up in a “I-want-to-buy-this, no-you-can’t” dialogue, but that normally just polarizes each of you, so try to avoid that as much as possible.
2. Have joint and separate bank accounts. This is probably one of the best strategies you can employ if you and your spouse are financial opposites. Pool a specific amount of your income, say 75%, to pay the bills, run the household, put into savings, etc. The remaining money, which some couples call “play money”, can be split between each individual and spent on whatever they please. Nobody will have to justify any purchases from their play money, or feel guilty about spending it.
3. Establish an approval limit. Many couples have an approval limit on major purchases. With this concept, both spouses would need to agree on purchases over a specific amount (for example, $100) from their combined money, before the purchase is made. The limit, obviously, can be set to whatever you and your spouse feel comfortable with.
4. Be knowledgeable about your financial situation. Too often in marriages, one spouse is intimately knowledgeable about their financial situation, and the other spouse is not. Couples who don’t fight about money typically have a monthly budget mapped out, discuss it, and make changes to it as necessary – together. It takes some discipline from both spouses, but in the end, can alleviate a lot of the tension regarding money in a marriage.
5. Be truthful. You may be shocked to learn that a recent survey found that half of all couples keep money secrets. Most often those money secrets take the form of lying about spending – sometimes little things, sometimes big things – but it’s a slippery slope so just don’t do it. In this age of online banking, it’s very hard to hide purchases these days anyway. Good marriages are built on a solid foundation of trust in ALL aspects of the marriage, including finances.
A marriage of financial opposites can work. Put these tips to use in your marriage, and we think you’ll see noticeable reductions in the tension and arguments about money between you and your spouse!