We all have mon­ey DNA.  Like our per­son­al­i­ty, our mon­ey DNA is formed ear­ly in life.  Once formed, it becomes how we see, feel, and behave around mon­ey.

If we have the same DNA as our spouse or part­ner, life around mon­ey is pret­ty smooth and easy. But when our mon­ey DNA dif­fers from our spouse or part­ner, dis­cord and dys­func­tion in mon­ey mat­ters can be expect­ed. 

There are var­i­ous types of mon­ey DNA. The most com­mon are: Sav­ing or Spend­ing, Man­age­ment or Indif­fer­ence, Con­scious or Avoid­ance, or Spe­cial­ty Rules.

Those with sav­ings DNA enjoy sav­ing mon­ey and build­ing wealth more than any oth­er mon­ey activ­i­ty, some­times to a point where spend­ing mon­ey can be chal­leng­ing.  Savers rel­ish the very act of sav­ing.  Enjoy­ing mon­ey by spend­ing it or giv­ing it away is often a chal­lenge for those with sav­ings DNA.

Those with spend­ing DNA get sim­i­lar sat­is­fac­tion out of spend­ing mon­ey.  They know they should save some­thing, but sav­ing doesn’t bring the same lev­el of sat­is­fac­tion as spend­ing, so I’ll wait until tomor­row.  Of course, tomor­row nev­er comes.  Those with sav­ings DNA often reach their 50’s and begin to real­ize their mon­ey DNA has its chal­lenges.

When Indif­fer­ence or Avoid­ance is your mon­ey DNA, things can go smooth­ly for a while with only an inter­mit­tent cri­sis due to the lack of atten­tion to mon­ey.  Those with Indif­fer­ence or Avoid­ance DNA often say things like “What is all the fuss about mon­ey?”  “There is more where that came from.”  “I just don’t con­cern myself with mon­ey.” Some peo­ple with this mon­ey DNA man­age to devel­op a kind of rhythm around mon­ey that works, avoid­ing the pit­falls.  The down­side is they often have to work longer, hard­er or save more to accom­plish the same goal as some­one who is more atten­tive to mon­ey.

Those with Spe­cial­ty Rules mon­ey DNA have a mon­ey style most of the time.  For exam­ple, they save mon­ey, but will spend mon­ey on their kids, or at the gro­cery store or farmer’s mar­ket, or on edu­ca­tion.  In oth­er words, there is a ten­den­cy to be a saver and a spender, with a few rules here and there about spe­cial areas of their choice.

So what do you do if you and your part­ner just do not share com­mon mon­ey DNA? 

First, stop mak­ing each oth­er wrong.  The best place to be with mon­ey is in bal­ance.  Some spend­ing, some sav­ing, some man­age­ment, some avoid­ance or indif­fer­ence, and some rules that fit just for us based on our goals and desires.  So if we start with ‘no one is wrong’, what next?

Set your inten­tion as a cou­ple, to the best of your abil­i­ty, to meet both of your needs and wants around mon­ey.  Agree up front that you are in a finan­cial part­ner­ship where every­one has an equal voice and all points of view are valid and will be heard.

Raise your self-aware­ness around your own mon­ey DNA.  Share your mon­ey DNA with your part­ner and seek to under­stand their point of view.  Ask open, non-judg­men­tal ques­tions.  When you choose to see your dif­fer­ing mon­ey DNA as a gift to each oth­er, you will then find the bal­ance that hon­ors both of you.

Using a finan­cial plan­ning process, either self-direct­ed or with a finan­cial plan­ner, pri­or­i­tize and devel­op spe­cif­ic plans to accom­plish as many and as much of each other’s goals as pos­si­ble.

Should mon­ey con­flict arise, go back to the finan­cial plan­ning process and let the plan help you sort through and choose among your options.

Repeat­ed­ly, I have seen our plan­ning process, The Pros­per­i­ty Expe­ri­ence, trans­form rela­tion­ships where mon­ey DNA was in con­flict.  Mir­a­cles hap­pen when we choose to lis­ten, seek to under­stand and give up judg­ment of self and oth­ers.