Why Dating Your Financial Opposite Could Actually Be a Good Thing

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We all know that opposites attract, but we usually think of this as a bad thing when it comes to financial opposites. However, this isn’t necessarily the case — a saver and a spender could make for great partners if they use their differences to their advantage.

In this “Financially Savvy Female” column, we’re chatting with Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, a certified financial therapist and a partner with MetLife’s financial wellness app Upwise, about why dating your financial opposite could actually be a good thing.

What are some ways that dating your financial opposite can be advantageous?

It’s so helpful to have somebody who has a slightly different perspective. It helps you to focus on what are our “we” goals — the things that matter to us as a unit — and then what are the things that matter to us as individuals.

So many of us have this belief that two savers who marry each other or who become partnered are going to be better off than two people who are spenders, and in some aspects that may be true, but in other aspects, having someone who has different behaviors or beliefs about money can actually help to create to this really lovely balance in a relationship. It can help to see where you’re each coming from and strike a balance in the middle. Oftentimes, when my clients come in and they hyper-identify as a saver or as a spender, they haven’t really considered a middle-of-the-road option.

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What we know again and again is that couples who talk about money report being happier than those who don’t. I think it helps in relationships from a tactical perspective, but also from the communicative and emotional perspective, to be able to have those conversations with your partner, with each of you leaning into your strengths.


What are some productive ways for partners who are opposites to speak about each other’s money behaviors and beliefs?

A key is instead of going in saying, “I’m right, you’re wrong,” coming in and saying, “Here’s where I’m coming from, these are my ideas, this is where I came up with these beliefs. What are your thoughts on that?” Essentially, putting yourself in more of an emotional role and in a listener role.

Try to elicit what your partner [feels about money]. Are they feeling embarrassed or excited or worried when it comes to money? Then get into, how does embarrassment line up with us having credit card debt, or how does anxiety line up with us not being able to go out to dinner? Start with the emotions first and then layer on the money. When we start with the emotions and come at it from a place of, I want to hear where you’re coming from, that can help create empathy for your partner.

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What are some areas where it’s important to find common financial ground, even if your beliefs are dissimilar?

Before getting to the big topics, like what car should we buy, what house should we buy, do we want to buy a house, [etc.], it’s about laying the foundation of how you are going to structure your finances. Are we going to keep everything separate, are we going to write checks and Venmo each other back and forth, or are we going to have some pooled money and some separate money?

I love to have at least some portion of a couple’s finances blended, even if that’s just a joint checking account that’s used for things like groceries and rent. When you have something shared, you’re in it together. If the challenge is, how are we going to save up for an emergency fund or how are we going to save up for the vacation, you both can log into that same account, see the savings go up and help to support each other along the way.

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Once you’ve figured out how you will structure your finances, what are some of the topics you need to become aligned on?

There are three different pillars. [The first is] what’s happening right now — what’s coming in and what’s coming out. Are we comfortable with our savings rate or how much our expenses are?

The second pillar is what’s coming up in the near future, in the next one to five years. Are there any vacations that we want to plan for? Any professional development or education that we want to save for? Are we interested in ramping up paying down debt?

Then, finally, the long term. What do we envision our retirement looking like? How do we want to make sure that we’re taken care of with things like a will and trust and life insurance? Is it important, if we have children, to save money for their college or is it something that they’re going to be on their own for?

If they can think through those things, that can help them to figure out what they can compromise and collaborate on if they are financial opposites.

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More From GOBankingRates

GOBankingRates wants to empower women to take control of their finances. According to the latest stats, women hold $72 billion in private wealth — but fewer women than men consider themselves to be in “good” or “excellent” financial shape. Women are less likely to be investing and are more likely to have debt, and women are still being paid less than men overall. Our “Financially Savvy Female” column will explore the reasons behind these inequities and provide solutions to change them. We believe financial equality begins with financial literacy, so we’re providing tools and tips for women, by women to take control of their money and help them live a richer life.


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