Creekbaum: Money personalities affect love and finances |

Creekbaum: Money personalities affect love and finances

William Creekbaum
For the Nevada Appeal

No matter how deeply you and your partner love each other, money is probably a loaded subject. I regularly see how an individual’s reaction to how money’s invested, spent, shared, passed down or donated is often filled with personal history and emotion. And if you and your spouse come from different geographic, economic, ethnic, educational or religious backgrounds, it can be even harder.

At the risk of oversimplifying, psychologists and planners have identified a handful of money personalities that tend to predominate. Read below to see if you can identify which one, or ones, best describe you and then find your partner’s. I personally believe the more you know about each other and your money styles, the easier it is to work things out.

• Shoppers believe that life is meant to be enjoyed and that retail therapy is a great way to savor it. They take pleasure in spending and hate a spouse questioning or keeping tabs.

• Power suits pride themselves on hard work and its results and they like to take financial risks. They may be drawn to financial accumulation for the sake of power.

• Avoiders try not to think about money at all and consider financial details boring. They may not know their financial life is out of control, and they never want to face the chaos head-on.

• Worriers are preoccupied with money in a negative way, dreading an uncertain future. On the positive side, sometimes their hording leads to good financial organization.

• Asthetics are Spartan types who may feel conflicted and guilty about money. They believe in living simply and in socially responsible investing.

When you are married, differing attitudes toward money are inevitable – but conflict doesn’t have to be. I believe these are some great techniques for improving your marital communication and achieving peace of mind when you and your spouse are at odds over finances.

1. Speak honestly. Whether you’re newly married or just encountering the emotions finances can pique or are in a 40-year marriage and revisiting a familiar dispute, you have to unburden yourself before you can make decisions. “I don’t believe couples can negotiate until they’ve really shared their feelings with empathy,” says couples therapist and financial author Olivia Mellan. “Lighten up your emotional load.”

2. Declare independence. While your financial advisor can craft the specific arrangements that make the most sense for legal, tax and planning purposes, couples, generally speaking, should also arrange to have some assets separate to foster each partner’s autonomy and security.

3. Meet often with your spouse. You may find that set, weekly times are necessary at the beginning. Initially, your financial advisor can set up a monthly meeting. Eventually, after reaching agreement on goals and strategy, he or she can make those conversations part of your quarterly meetings. Communication is key.

4. Reward yourselves. After the weekly, monthly or quarterly hard work is done and you’ve negotiated, discussed and planned, pat yourselves on the back. Recognize your distinctive financial partnership with a celebratory dinner or another activity you enjoy, recommends author Victoria F. Collins.

5. Accept help. Because many beliefs about money are so deeply rooted, the emotions can be hard to figure out. If you find you can’t discuss finances without blowing up or blaming, if it’s an especially difficult stretch in your life or marriage or you just can’t articulate your concerns, seek professional help.

• William Creekbaum, MBA, CFP, is senior investment management consultant of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. He can be reached at 689-8704 or