04 Jan

Why do we Argue about Money?


A while ago we ran a series of video Q&A’s where we invited questions about money. By far and away, the most asked question was, “why do my partner and I always argue about money?”

If this is you, you’re not alone.  The money argument isn’t the exception in a couple’s relationship, it’s far more common than you might think.

It’s said that money talks and yet talking about money remains one of life’s taboo topics. Research by the Commission for Financial Capability NZ found more than half of people don’t talk to their significant other about money.

The astonishing revelation was that 29% believing it’s not an acceptable topic of conversation!

Sadly, around 75% of relationships break ups are caused by money related issues.  So, all the more reason to get your ‘stuff’ together and get on to building a happy life together.

We frequently meet couples that don’t talk about money

While winter is becoming a distant memory, the Covid lockdown that we (Auckland, NZ) are currently in prevents us from really enjoying the new freedom that spring brings.  Which can mean that fuses are a little shorter.  So, it’s an easy transition from not talking about money, to arguing about money.

Why is this?  Well, sometimes the ‘money’ arguments are really about money, but sometimes money arguments are a symptom of other issues within the relationship.  This is because we are emotional beings, and we easily attach meanings and emotion to money that really has nothing to do with 1+1=2.

There are many assumptions around our roles in the relationship that quite often can remain buried until something happens.  Whether you’ve lost your job or won the lottery, it will all come bubbling up to the surface.

It may seem the argument is about money, but it may well be about who ‘wears the pants’ in the relationship.  Or about trust (or lack of it) or any of a myriad of other emotions that are part of being in a relationship.

We bring our own personal beliefs about money into our relationships.

Your beliefs and behaviour about money come from your Money Personality, which is a behavioural pattern typically relating to your spending and saving but also include attitudes to money.  In a relationship it is not unusual that your individual Money Personalities clash.  But by understanding how opposing types can be complementary in a relationship, you will become a stronger team.

Maybe you are a Spender and believe that debt is fine and it doesn’t matter if you don’t pay the credit card bill off each month.  After all money, is there to be enjoyed!

Whereas your partner may be thrifty and believe that money is to be saved and not frittered away on ‘stuff’.  If you don’t have the money in the bank, you don’t spend.  For Savers money is more about bringing safety and stability.

With the right attitude and mindset, you can grow in your understanding of each other’s financial needs and strengthen your relationship in the process.  What you don’t want to do is simply assert your point of view.

How do you resolve these differences so you can live in harmony?

A bit of common sense, really. Talk about it!

If you haven’t discussed your different views about money and found some middle ground, you will most likely have conflict.

The best way to not argue about money is to take the time to have the ‘money conversation’.  Decide who is going to run the household finances.  How you are going to structure your income (joint or separate bank accounts) and what your financial goals are and how are you going to achieve them.

To resolve your differences and/or to make you both stronger as a team, you really have to understand what your partner’s Money Personality is and how that relates to yours.

Understand that your Money Personality is a pattern of current behaviour, it doesn’t define you for life.  It simply gives you a starting point to work from and will change as you adapt to new thinking.

The classic case with couples is where one is a Spender and their partner is a Hoarder.  The Hoarder may influence (restrain) the Spender’s behaviour and the Spender may convince the Hoarder to free it up a little.

At different times in your life and depending on circumstances, you will likely see more than one Money Personality type in yourself.  Your Money Personality is rarely just the one type, the majority of us are a blend of two or three.

To find out what your Money Personality is, take our quiz and find out right now.

Money Mastery is what we all aspire to.  Unfortunately, most people either don’t know how to get there or aren’t willing to do the work to find out.

Spend some time together and reflect on what you want from life and whether your current behaviours bring you closer to that goal.  I promise you; this is truly rewarding exercise.

If you are struggling with how to manage your money or how to talk to you partner about money then drop us an email or click on this link to find a day and time that suits you to have a chat with us – it’s completely free.