Money is one of the most common topics couples argue about. It’s one of the most challenging issues to discuss.

Despite having discussed them and seemingly resolved them before, couples never seems to have an easy time talking about money. In fact, talking about money is hard for almost all relationships. 

The money topic usually brings up anxiety, frustration, and highlights our differences in saving and spending. No surprise then that when two people with two different perspectives are involved it becomes even more complicated. However, there is one important insight that helps couples moves toward financial health and help the way you talk about money forever- the problem may not be money itself, but your values with money or what money represents to each of you. 

When we realize that money acts as a symbol for certain values and that we all have very different views and feelings about money, it makes it easier to understand our own and our partner’s perspectives on the subject.

Understanding our partner regarding what money means to them is one way to move towards financial health.

THERE ARE A FEW VALUES EACH OF YOU MAY IDENTIFY MONEY WITH: 

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Money may make you feel more safe and secure in life.  Do you believe you should always have savings available to fall back on in times of need? If you find that having money means not having to worry and prefer to save in guaranteed investments as opposed to risky ones then money probably represents security to you.

INDEPENDENCE

You may feel more independent with money.  Do you believe you get to make the decisions if you hold the money? If you find that it is important to you to have your own bank account with your own savings, so that you don’t feel controlled by your partner and want to be free to make your own decisions then money may symbolize having control to you.

RELAXATION AND ENJOYMENT

Money is also about shopping, vacations, and holidays. Do you feel that money is there for enjoyment and relaxation? If you believe that your money is better spent on vacations, fun outings and shopping, then money is probably associated with enjoyment for you.

STATUS

Money may make your feel important socially and professionally.  Do you find yourself looking up to people who live in a certain area, drive certain cars and earn a certain amount of money? If you find that you tend to admire and look up to people with a certain social status and believe it is important to maintain a lifestyle that is similar to your peers then money represents status to you.

Once you have been able to identify what money really means to each of you then you can have a clear idea of what to discuss and have more meaningful conversations about it. Instead of talking about money, talk about the values it holds for you, and why those are such a strong force in your life. A financially healthy couple is a couple that is able to listen and understand each other's value around money. Understanding each other's anxieties, fears and feelings can help you feel more connected and secure.

At San Francisco Marriage and Couples Center, we can help you and your partner talk about money and help guide you toward achieving financial health.