Relationships and Finance: How Polar Opposites Can Ride Out Joint Finances

Relationships and Finance: How Polar Opposites Can Ride Out Joint Finances

I’ve never been one of those people who could throw their hands up when riding a roller coaster. I suppose I know that holding the safety bar is just a false sense of security, but I do it all the same. My husband, on the other hand, hates roller coasters, but once he’s convinced to ride one, it’s arms up all the way.

Financial Opposites

We are the same way with our finances. I have strict budget set up, and even with a nice chunk of “personal spending” allowance backed up, I’m afraid to let go and spend. We’ve lived paycheck to paycheck before, and I’m not in any great hurry to go back. My husband, on the other hand, isn’t big on the whole budget idea. He doesn’t spend often, but when he does, hold on to your wallet!

One lesson I have learned from our nine years together is that the "personal" in personal finances is the key to our marital bliss. We both are on each other’s accounts, have a shared personal savings account, and have a shared long-term savings account (we diligently save to have a nice little nest egg to pass down to our children apart from our own savings). We would sell our home before we dipped into that account.

Technically, our accounts are shared, but having two separate accounts allows him to feel less constricted and more carefree, while I continue to feel like I’m in control. So, while our monetary theories are polar opposites, we can live in harmony.

A Solution to Financial Polar Opposites

So how do you deal with opposite financial theories? Planning for the division in thinking can help. If you know that your spouse has a different mindset than you, find a way to allow for it rather than change it. For my husband and me, this idea is apparent in our joint but separate accounts.

Of course, you’ll never know if your spouse finds your financial theories helter-skelter if you don’t talk about finances. So take some time to sit down and talk about money. It may be difficult at first, but it can help you both develop a better sense of your joint financial journey.

Taking a Breather from Talking

However, if talking about things starts to get overwhelming, take a minute to write down your concerns and then seal them in envelopes. Then set each of the envelopes aside to be dealt with a month later. You’ll have had plenty of time to cool down and collect your thoughts by then. Chances are, some of the issues will no longer seem like issues, either.

When you open each envelope, respond to the other person’s note in writing. Next, give the notes back to each other, read them, sleep on it, and talk about it all the next day. You’ll be amazed at how much less stressful the talk will be when it doesn’t immediately impact you – when you have time to think before having a knee-jerk reaction.

An ounce of prevention is usually worth more than a pound of cure, but when it comes to money and relationships, both are equally as important. Preventing financial arguments through different accounts or curing arguments by taking a breather can both help you and yours agree on finances.

Check out our other articles in our "Relationships and Finances" series, and let us know how you balance your love and your money!.

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Weekend Reading: Back from Vacation Edition | Invest It Wise's picture

Weekend Reading: Back from Vacation Edition | Invest It Wise wrote:

Sat, 04/30/2011 - 22:27 Comment #: 1

[...] Relationships and Finance: How Polar Opposites Can Ride Out Joint Finances (MomVesting) [...]

Making Time For Kids! | Money Reasons's picture

Making Time For Kids! | Money Reasons wrote:

Sun, 05/01/2011 - 08:25 Comment #: 2

[...] How Polar Opposites Can Ride Out Joint Finances - My wife and I use such as system, even though we aren’t on opposite [...]

Perfecting Dad's picture

Perfecting Dad wrote:

Mon, 05/02/2011 - 16:01 Comment #: 3

Hey, first time reader, will go through your site but wanted to comment here:

I don't think that polar opposites work at all. Someone has to change! Also, I don't think you two are really opposites, because you are able to work together.

If both people have different preferences then, like you said, you can divide the money into pieces for each to manage. Each is comfortable with letting some of the joint assets be managed that way, just like even as an individual you may like to play the lottery but you only allocate a certain amount there. You like the lottery and hope you win, but you like it only enough for $5 per week or whatever.

With couples, I definitely recommend everything being joint and visible. My wife and I have a joint bank account and a joint credit card through which everything goes. We can each see what the other does at any time, and we talk about it frequently. We also each have the passwords to our investment accounts and we frequently check those as well. I like to trade stocks more often than my wife, so I have an amount that we're comfortable with trading that way. If it starts to get to be too much, or I have a big gain or a big loss then we discuss ("Oooh honey, the markets are killing me, I lost $15K this week and it's only Wednesday!")

I don't consider us polar opposites at all, even though we are different. We trust each other, and each has different skills that are compatible. We strive towards a family goal (retire by 40) and we are always supportive of each other and their ideas to pursue that goal.

Jessica Schmeidler's picture

Jessica Schmeidler wrote:

Mon, 05/02/2011 - 16:37 Comment #: 4

Hi, Perfecting Dad. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I definitely agree that couples should talk about their finances frequently. :)

Finances and Relationships - Taking on Tough Topics | MomVes's picture

Finances and Relationships - Taking on Tough Topics | MomVes wrote:

Sat, 01/21/2012 - 18:00 Comment #: 5

[...] Having a joint spending account can be great as long as you can learn to blend opposite financial personalities. [...]