How to know if you are financially compatible with your partner – AskMen

How to know you’re financially compatible with your partner (and what to do if you’re not)

Maybe you and your partner share the same political beliefs and the same goals for starting a family. Or maybe you both value punctuality, cheer for the same soccer team, or share a passion for travel. But what about your outlook on finances?

You certainly don’t have to have everything in common, but according to experts, financial compatibility can set you up for long-term success.

As the saying goes, opposites attract, and studies have shown that this is certainly true when it comes to couples’ financial habits: savers tend to pair up with spenders, and vice versa. Of course, this can lead to perpetual tension and conflict, especially if you don’t know how to deal with your differences.

A Survey 2016 found that 73% of people approach financial decisions differently than their partner or spouse. The good news? More than half of couples say that as they work through these differences, they have become more financially responsible and their relationship has improved over time. In other words, it’s possible for your relationship to work, even if you’re financially incompatible. In fact, overcoming these differences can even strengthen your relationship.

RELATED: The most common money fights in relationships and what to do about them

Next, experts share how to know whether or not you’re financially compatible with your partner, and what to do if you’re not.

What is financial compatibility?

“In relationships, financial compatibility refers to the understanding and agreement between two people about money-related habits, goals, priorities, values, and beliefs,” says Candace Kotkin-De Carvalho, a licensed clinical social worker at Absolute awakenings who has worked with couples.

According to Carvalho, financial compatibility helps couples make unified financial decisions when it comes to:

Budget Expenditure Savings Investment

Anna Jacksonpsychotherapist a The Priory, notes that financial compatibility is not about earning the same amount. Financial compatibility also doesn’t mean you have to pool all your money or ask permission before every purchase. It simply means you’re on the same page about your approach to managing money.

How to know if you and your partner are financially compatible

Experts advise looking for these key signs of financial compatibility:

Shared goals

According to Tina Fey, relationship expert and founder of, one of the main signs that you and your partner are compatible in this regard is if you have some of the same financial goals. For example, you may both be saving to buy a house, or you may both have a plan to pay off your student debt at some point.

Similar priorities

Whether you and your partner both prefer to save your money for travel, spend your money on weekly night out experiences, or live frugally to save for retirement, having similar financial priorities can go a long way in terms of relationship satisfaction , says Fey. . It’s not necessarily a requirement for a happy and fulfilling relationship, but it can certainly minimize conflict.

mutual respect

If you’re financially compatible, you’re likely to trust your partner to make good decisions when it comes to purchases and investments, and they also trust you. This means you generally don’t judge or criticize each other about purchases, Fey notes.

Collaborative decision-making

When you are financially compatible with your partner, you are more likely to value their opinion. For this reason, you and your partner can work together to make big financial decisions and take each other’s input into account, says Fey.

RELATED: A simple method to start budgeting

Balanced contributions and control

“If you and your partner contribute to shared financial goals, like paying bills or saving for a vacation, in a way that feels fair to both of you, you’re probably financially compatible,” says Fey.

Creating a sense of security and trust within the relationship also means having financial independence, says Carvalho.

While couples can share a joint account, it’s crucial that one partner doesn’t have more control over the finances; when you’re financially compatible, Carvalho says you’ll both have an equal say in money-related decisions.

On the other hand, according to Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist, co-owner of BFF therapyand internal relations expert for Paired — You may be financially incompatible if:

Avoid talking about money. Hide your purchases from your partner or they hide theirs from you. Lie to each other about your spending habits, debts, etc. Shame on each other for the way you spend your money

RELATED: Financial counseling for couples: How to talk about money with your partner

Financial questions to ask each other

One of the best ways to find out if you and your partner are financially compatible is to open up a discussion about money.

You should both approach this conversation from a place of curiosity—the idea isn’t to prove that your way is the right way or to discount your partner’s points of view. Instead, the goal is simply to learn more about each other’s opinions in order to gain a deeper understanding of what areas you may agree or disagree with.

DeGeare, Carvalho and Jackson recommend asking the following questions to assess your financial compatibility:

How do you feel about debt and what strategies do you use to manage it? What is your budgeting approach? How did your parents talk about money growing up? What did they teach you about how to handle it? Did you experience financial hardship during your childhood? How do you think this affected your attitude towards money? Do you have any money-related embarrassment? To what extent is your sense of self-worth related to your income or financial standing in your community? Is there anything in particular you’re saving for right now? Is there anything in particular you’d like to work together to save on? What kind of lifestyle do you envision for the future? Would you rather spend your money on an experience like a concert or dinner, or products like new clothes or gadgets? Do you have any current plans or want to invest money? Do you think there is a certain amount of money we should check before spending? Did I buy something you had a problem with? How often would you like to talk about money matters?

What to do if you are not financially compatible

First, let’s get one thing straight: if you and your partner are financially incompatible, rest assured that this does not mean that your relationship is completely doomed.

“It’s possible for a relationship to work if the partners aren’t financially compatible, but it may require extra effort and commitment,” she says. Amira R Martina licensed therapist a private practice and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of Social Work.

According to Martin and Carvalho, the single factor that can make or break financially incompatible couples is communication. Being open and honest about your financial differences is crucial: When there’s a sense of secrecy and shame about your financial decisions, it can erode your sense of trust in the relationship.

“Both partners should be able to respect each other’s monetary decisions, even if they disagree,” adds Carvalho. “And because one’s decisions affect the other, couples should also have a mutual understanding of the consequences of their actions and be able to work together accordingly.”

Ketan Parmar, psychiatrist with ClinicSpots, suggests setting some ground rules when it comes to spending to avoid potential misunderstandings related to finances. For example, you might agree to check on purchases over a certain amount, or you might decide on a weekly or monthly spending limit for non-essential items.

When you still can’t seem to get past your differences, Martin and Fey recommend seeking the support of a financial counselor or couples therapist, who can help you navigate these issues and find strategies for managing finances as a team .

“Financial compatibility isn’t about having identical financial habits or goals,” adds Fey. “It’s about being able to communicate, compromise and work together to achieve a shared financial future.”

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