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Question: My husband and I have very different attitudes and ideas towards our finances, Is that common in marriages?
Answer: It is important to know the money personality or styles of you and your partner so you can work as a team to achieve your family’s financial goals. You may find you are a combination of styles. To have a financially fit lifestyle, you have to look deeper at your money values and personalities.
Your personality was formed early in childhood through experiences and observations. You then are influenced by societal pressures and advertising. Understanding the factors that influence your views can help you determine which of your spending habits are healthy and what triggers you to buy on impulse. We have created some “generalizations” for you:
Circle: You are the lovers, the givers, some might even say the suckers. You are the person people go to if they are short on cash, if their child is collecting money for his or her soccer team, or worse, your child is in financial distress and you are “helping out.”
There is nothing wrong with giving, but know your limits. Have a plan of how much you can afford to give weekly, monthly and yearly. If need be, you may need to cut down on other expenses to fulfill your giving obligations.
Sometimes it is hard to say no, but a good response might be “I am getting my finances together and I just don’t have it within my budget to give right now.” Also remember, if you continually give financial support to another person, ask yourself if you really are helping or are you enabling the other person not to make better financial decisions?
Squiggly line: You tend to be very outgoing, typically unorganized, friendly and an impulsive shopper. You love a good deal. Going to stores can be dangerous for you, there are a million things you “must have” even though you didn’t need them before you went into the store.
There is hope. First off, get rid of your debt and credit cards. Carry cash or have a preloaded debit card. Then, have a dollar amount allocated in your financial plan that you spend on groceries, entertainment, clothes, hobbies, etc. If you walk into a store with a limited amount of cash, you cannot spend more then what you have.
Finally, if you make an impulsive purchase, don’t put it in a closet or drawer when you get home. That way you won’t forget about it and will have a chance to determine whether you really needed it or wanted it. If you then decide it doesn’t hold the same appeal it had in the store, return the item.
Triangles: You have the ready-aim-fire personality, the risk takers. You love the chance of the big payoff. You might invest in the stock market or go to a casino to win your fortune. At times, there is nothing wrong with that, but focus on how much you can afford to lose, not how much you might win. This needs to be planned for within your budget, after all other expenses are met.
Squares: You are the people who really want to budget. You make a plan to start and have good intentions, then something happens and you have to wait until next week (or month or year), to start again. It’s like a diet, if you are not on it you’re off it. You need to stop “budgeting” and start thinking of it as a financial plan. When you make mistakes, don’t give up. This is not all or nothing. Gather your resources, set your financial goals and create a plan to get to where you want to go.
Rectangles: You guys seem to have it all together. You keep good records, set financial goals and you have a plan. You are the people who can put everything on a credit card and pay it off at the end of the month, just to reap the rewards the credit card companies offer. You are what most people aspire to be, but keep focused and continue to adjust goals and prioritize your expenses.
Interestingly, many marriages are made up of a squiggly and rectangle, wonder why? Maybe it is true that opposites do attract.
In all seriousness though, it is important to evaluate spending and saving habits, being completely honest, as an individual or as a couple. Facing your finances directly and being proactive creates a solid financial foundation.
Leanna Milby is a financial services specialist with Apprisen.
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