Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make me a Monetary Match

APPLETON, Wis. (6/16/10)–No matter how much you love your spouse, chances are there’s something you’d change if you had the chance. Often that desired change is about how your significant other handles money, according to a recent Thrivent Financial and Kiplinger’s survey (June 2).

Nearly two in five Americans said they most wanted to increase their spouse’s earning power, the survey found. Three in 10 respondents said they wish their spouse would talk about money more. Seventeen percent wish their spouse did more of the routine money management duties. Twenty-three percent of respondents want their mate to be less of a spendthrift; one in 10 wish their spouse was less of a tightwad.

A willingness to accept your partner’s money personality is a start, but you have to take action if you really want to achieve financial harmony. Discussing what’s important to each other can help you understand each other.

To reduce conflict and reach your and your spouse’s financial goals, the Credit Union National Association’s Center for Personal Finance recommends:

  • Communicate–It’s vital that you talk about money and your marriage. Set aside time to do so. Remain open-minded rather than insisting your partner do things your way. Make agreements to compromise.
  • Set goals together –Start by making separate “wish lists” and then, together, rank the items and work toward those that you both feel are most important. Revisit goals at least annually and make adjustments based on changing priorities and goals.
  • Maintain individual accounts–Consider having his, hers, and ours accounts. Use the joint account to pay household expenses, including mortgage and rent, utilities, insurance, and car and home repairs. If there’s money left over, split it into your individual accounts. From these accounts you can pursue individual goals. For a spender, that might mean paying for a dream vacation. For a saver, that might mean beefing up a retirement account.
  • Get professional help–If you run into roadblocks, consider getting professional help. Whether you choose to see a marriage counselor, financial planner, or another type of professional such as a member of the clergy will depend partly on whether you believe your issues have more to do with your relationship or your finances. Contact the professionals at your credit union. You also can find a nonprofit, accredited credit counseling agency by visiting the National Foundation for Credit Counseling website at or by calling 800-388-2227.

To learn more, read “Couples and Money: Reconciling a Spender-Saver Marriage” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.


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