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.