Dating Someone With Different Views on Money: Can It Work?
You’ve found someone you love spending time with. Someone who obsesses over all the same TV shows you do, and whose views on money could not be more different than yours. You might think of this as a deal-breaker, but it doesn’t have to be. Having opposing views on finances can actually make you better with money, depending on how you approach the differences.
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Obviously, there are going to be downsides to having contrasting thoughts about money with your significant other. However, with thorough and frequent communication, you can hopefully sort through the bad and work together to make sound financial decisions together.
Con: It May Be Hard Finding a System That Works
Depending on your upbringing and your current financial situation, the two of you might have completely different philosophies surrounding money, and therefore have drastically different habits. One of you might track budgets with a spreadsheet, while the other one might not track at all. When it comes to tax time, one of you might feel confident e-filing, while another insists on going to a tax professional.
The best solution is to hold back judgment when hearing out someone else’s system. If it’s worked for them, then it’s worth respecting and maybe even trying out yourself. If you find you’re the more financially savvy one in the relationship, calmly explain why you use your systems and how they’ve made you better with money, gently suggesting the systems might work for your partner. Give your partner a “trial period” so they don’t feel like they have to use the system forever if it doesn’t work for them.
Pro: You Balance Each Other’s Habits
Best-case scenario: You might be good at some financial aspects, and your partner is better at others. Maybe your partner has a lot in savings because they’ve had automatic savings turned on with their bank for years. Hearing about that might encourage you to enroll in automatic savings so you slowly build up your savings as well.
Conversely, maybe one of you spends more than the other — which is not always a bad thing. If your partner spends more money than you, perhaps you can come to an agreement where you splurge for special occasions, but save on everyday expenses, so you can both enjoy spending money together.
Con: It Could Mean Disagreements
Obviously, when you and your romantic partner are presenting conflicting views around money, you’re bound to have some spats. These are normal. After all, you’re coming from two different sides. Try to have compassion for where the other person is coming from and strive to make your relationship better as a couple, rather than to “win” an argument. As Jay-Z says, nobody wins when the family feuds.
Pro: It Encourages Communication
The antidote to disagreements is communication. Be open and honest with your significant other when it comes to your finances. If you’re upfront about your habits, your goals and even your insecurities, your partner will feel comfortable and comforted. They’ll be more willing to be honest with you, and together you’ll make better financial decisions.
Con: Conversation May Be Difficult
Any time you’re discussing something that might show vulnerability, passion or lack of proficiency, the talk might get heated. Before talking about money together, remind yourselves that you both deeply care about each other and only want the best for your relationship. Though it might be hard to talk initially, knowing you trust one another will make it easier over time.
Pro: It Could Mean New Insights
Your partner might suggest something about money that you never considered. Perhaps it’s a money management tool or habit that you find extremely valuable. On a deeper level, opening up more about finances might shed some light on how you are as people that you might never have learned had you not discussed money in depth. Be open to discoveries about both money and your partner.
Con: There’s a Risk of Hurt Feelings
Nobody’s perfect, so discussing finances so candidly might lead one of you to say something that offends the other. Even if you try your best to approach the topic with compassion, you never know what might strike a chord with the other person — or yourself.
If your partner is hurt about something, allow them to express themselves and fully hear them out so you can see where they’re coming from. If you are the one with hurt feelings, be honest with your partner about how they hurt you. Though it’s always hard in the moment, acknowledging hurt feelings helps avoid them in the future.
Pro: It Encourages Respect
Learning new things about your partner helps you understand them on a deeper level. In turn, it helps build respect for them in a new way. Not that you don’t respect your partner already, but being more transparent with them on a new level helps both of you embark on building something together. In order to trust that your partner has your back when it comes to finances, you have to have a tremendous amount of respect for them.
Con: It May Be Hard To Overcome
If you’ve found you’ve done all the talking you can, you’ve been compassionate and you’ve been open, yet the two of you still can’t talk about finances without arguing, it might be time to consider an alternative. Seek out professional help from a financial advisor or couples therapist. Money is a very emotionally charged topic, and sometimes you won’t be able to tackle it just the two of you. There is no shame in reaching out to a third party to help you overcome your differences.
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