When we talk to others about their Money Relationships, we’re more interested in the “relationship” part than the “money” part.
Money is a tool, a means to an end. And that end is always the relationship.
You spend money on your spouse to demonstrate your love for him or her. You save money for your children’s educations to help launch them into adulthood. You set aside money for your retirement because you want to relax and enjoy time with your friends and family. You invest to make sure your future is well funded.
Even when you argue about money, you’re really fighting about the relationship. One of you feels disrespected by the other. Or you are afraid that your spouse is going to ignore your financial plans and leave you without a nest egg. You argue because you feel misunderstood or ignored.
This idea that your relationship matters more than your money is central to what we’re talking about. You have a Money Relationship with your partner, but you also have a Money Relationship with each of your children. And we know that you want to make that relationship as strong and healthy as possible, not because you hope your kids will save 30 percent of their allowance or know how to calculate interest, but because you treasure your connection with your kids.
That’s why it’s essential that parents not only have the practical tools to talk about the nitty-gritty details of money management but also have the kind of relationship tools that help keep them close and connected with their kids.
And the best tool of all is understanding something we call your Money Personalities.
What we’ve come to see in our years of working as financial advisors is that everyone has his or her own unique way of thinking about and dealing with money. And those particular ideas are what make up a person’s two Money Personalities.
You have two Money Personalities, your parenting partner has two Money Personalities, and each of your kids has two Money Personalities. While you might have some shared ideas about money, it’s highly likely that you also have many differences in your Money Personalities. It’s those differences that create tension in your Money Relationship.
Remember, almost every decision you make has a money component to it, so the way you think about and deal with money has a huge impact on your daily life and your interactions with other people. That’s why it’s so crucial to know your Money Personalities and to figure out your children’s Money Personalities.
Of these five Money Personalities – Spender, Saver, Risk-Taker, Security Seeker & Flyer – there will be two that fit you— a Primary Money Personality and a Secondary Money Personality. Think of these two as a team, partners that work together, balance each other out, and even compete with each other. Sometimes one of your Money Personalities drives decisions; sometimes the other takes over. Once you figure out your Primary and Secondary Money Personalities, ask your parenting partner to do the same.
To confirm your Primary and Secondary Money Personalities, take a few minutes to pop over to our website, TheMoneyCouple.com, and take the Money Personalities Assessment. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it will be a great help to understanding yourself before working through money issues with your kids.
As the two people who matter most to your children, it’s essential that you and your parenting partner approach the conversations that follow as a united team. You might have very different Money Personalities. It’s quite possible that you have your own issues when it comes to money. Maybe your marriage ended because of money conflicts. But this is the time to put all of that aside so you can work together to help your kids avoid those same problems and arguments down the road.
Learning how to work through money decisions together is going to go a long way toward reducing tension in your family. It’s going to bring you closer together. And it’s going to help all of you learn more about yourselves and each other. Plus, it can even be kind of fun.
Excerpted with permission from The 5 Money Conversations To Have With Your Kids At Every Age And Stage by Scott Palmer & Bethany Palmer, copyright Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2015.
Which money personalities are most prevalent in your family?