Can your spending styles make or break your relationship?

According to a Wealth of Geeks and study, nearly a quarter of all couples break up over finances. This is an even more significant issue for couples between the ages of 35 and 49 (30%), with 28% of those ages 25-34 ending relationships because of money conflicts.

When you’re in a serious relationship and considering marriage, conversations around finances need to happen. This includes discussing spending styles, with each person bringing their own style to a relationship. These spending styles can make or break a relationship down the line.

So what do couples need to know when it comes to analyzing the other’s spending habits when discussing marriage?

“Every couple is different, and savers and spenders often get together and share their money AND problems. What’s not in a prenup is how to talk about money safely and how to take action together. Your joint cash flow drama isn’t always one person’s fault. Many couples attempt to split their finances 50/50 down the middle. That often causes financial disparity even if you make nearly the same amount. This disparity may come from differences in debt or in spending habits,” explains Finance Coach Jeannie Dougherty.

Understanding where a person is coming from and their mindset behind their attitudes towards finances is the key to success.

“When it comes to differences in spending habits, it’s important to look at the root causes of what drives someone to either be a saver or a spender. Spenders spend because it makes them feel prosperous. Others spend out of scarcity or lack. Lastly, some spend because it’s just a bill or an expense. It’s not an emotional bargain. It’s ideal to make financial decisions from a neutral place. Most couples do not, and this is why divorce is often the primary reason for the divorce. When it comes to savers, some save consistently and diligently and have three to six months of savings in their bank accounts. Yet, some keep their money so tight-fisted that it becomes financial hoarding. The key here is to determine how you want money decisions to be made so you can reach your individual and joint financial goals,” Jeannie explains.

Couples must recognize the deep-seated emotional and psychological factors that shape their spending habits. This understanding forms the foundation for effective communication and joint decision-making about finances. Jeannie Dougherty advises couples to “seek a balance where each person’s financial personality is acknowledged and respected.” This balance allows for a more harmonious approach to money management, where neither person feels marginalized or misunderstood. It’s crucial for couples to create a shared financial vision that accommodates both their individual needs and their collective goals. Regular, open discussions about finances, goals, and fears can help bridge any differences, leading to a stronger, more financially secure relationship.

It’s essential to address the practical aspects of financial compatibility. Jeannie suggests that couples should “work together to create a budget that reflects their shared values and priorities.” This budget should account for both partners’ income and expenses, including savings and investments. It’s also important to discuss how to handle debts, whether they are brought into the relationship or incurred together. Establishing clear, agreed-upon rules for spending and saving helps prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. Jeannie emphasizes the importance of financial education and mutual understanding in this process, noting that “knowledge is power, and shared knowledge fosters mutual respect and trust.” By tackling financial issues as a team, couples can build a strong foundation for a lasting, healthy relationship.

Jeannie Dougherty is a certified money coach, counselor, mental fitness coach and speaker. She works with businesses, individuals and couples to help them find better ways to reach their goals She graduated with a Master’s degree in Counseling from Ottawa University and graduated from the Money Coaching Institute as a Certified Money Coach for Individuals, Couples and Businesses. Jeannie offers her clients a holistic approach that prioritizes long-term success.