Birds of a Feather but Different Money Mindsets?
You know how it goes, birds of a feather flock together, right? So you think you have a perfect partner because both of you like many of the same things. Well, until it comes to personal finances, that is.
Then, personal financial issues can make it seem like your partner is from a different planet. How can such different mindsets even stand to be in the same household, much less plan for the future? Can this relationship work if you one partner is a spendthrift and the other is more of the conservative investment type? Absolutely! If and only if there are some basic understandings and conversations that take place.
A Working Definition
What is a mindset anyway? The easiest way to define a mindset is to define it as a bundle of attitudes. In other words, depending upon your age, chances are you have picked up a few financial habits over the years. Over time these habits become so ingrained into your way of doing things that you don’t even think about them anymore, thus we call them habits. Put a few of these habits together over time and all of a sudden you find yourself with a certain mindset towards money and spending (or not spending).
Why Mindset Matters
Consider the definition above. Now reflect back on all the things you know and believe about personal financial success. As you do so, you are not alone if you find yourself reviewing various tactics and strategies you have picked up along the way and finding some of them to be less than optimum.
Yet, that’s when you need to stop and take a breath. Consider your mindset. Consider your partner’s mindset. Now, even if you discover that you and your partner’s money mindset are completely opposite, you should understand that mindset is key to your long term success with your finances.
You see, it turns out that mindset is your trump card if you will. Look at it this way, the best strategies in the world won’t help you at all with the wrong mindset. On the other hand, even a poor strategy will have some level of success if a proper mindset is there.
Try this analogy to bring this point home. Instead of personal finances, consider the topic of dieting and weight loss or weight gain. You have probably seen the statistics that show just about all diets work to some extent. Yet if the dieter never changes their habits….? You see the point, now back to the relationship.
No, it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember you are with your partner for a reason. Also, it is never ever about assigning blame or pointing fingers. Assuming you are in a dedicated relationship, you and your partner have made a commitment to each other. Part of that commitment is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each partner.
Once you have had the relationship conversations like we’ve discussed in the Your Financial Relationships series, then it’s time to figure out how to use your and your partner’s mindset to the best advantage.
For example, suppose one of you does happen to be a spendthrift? In that case, this is probably not the best partner to be paying the household bills. Understand this is not a control thing, it’s a relationship thing. A responsible partnership can and should bring out the best in each of you.
Presumably, the two of you are working towards some combined financial goals such as paying off the house, funding the kid’s college, retiring to Florida, that sort of thing. So, the partner with the saver or long term investor mindset simply gently reminds the other partner of their shared long term goals. At the same time, the two of could agree to set aside a certain amount of “fun money” each month for the both of you to enjoy however you want, either together or not.
As you can see, in any relationship differing mindsets towards personal finances can actually thrive and prosper.
What about You?
So what’s your take? Are you with your opposite regarding personal finances?