An Interview with Scott & Bethany Palmer about their Book
The 5 Money Personalities
Stronger Families’ CEO, Noel Meador, talks with Scott and Bethany Palmer, financial coaches and authors of several books about money and relationships, including The 5 Money Personalities.
- What are the Five Money Personalities?
Every person has one primary and one secondary money personality. Both are equally important and manifest themselves according to different circumstances.
- Spenders don’t care how much they spend or who they spend it on.
- Risk Takers love finding new adventures and listen to their gut when it comes to investing.
- Savers are organized and responsible with money and get a rush from saving.
- Security Seekers prefer low-risk investments and quality purchases.
- Flyers are not anxious nor consumed by money and have no emotional response to spending or saving.
Often, a person’s primary and secondary money personalities are direct opposites. Think of it this way: if you love to shop but never make full-price purchases, you are both a Spender and a Saver. If you take calculated risks with your investments, you are both a Security Seeker and a Risk Taker.
- How can money wreak havoc on a marriage?
Seventy percent of all divorced couples cite money as the #1 topic of arguments. Money is involved in every area of a couple’s lives, including which type of gas to put in the car, whether to bring coffee from home or buy Starbucks, how much to spend on clothes, and the list goes on and on. Each little financial decision stacks up, and if you cannot agree with your spouse about how much to spend and where, it is a recipe for stress and strife.
No couple is immune to financial disagreements—even those who have a large savings account and a hefty retirement—because over 80% of couples have opposite money personalities. Having your finances in order is only one part of the puzzle; agreeing on day-to-day spending and saving can make or break your marriage.
- What is the first step to agreeing about money?
The first step toward financial harmony is compromise. Perhaps you are a Spender and your spouse is a Saver—your spouse has just as much right to save money as you do to spend it. We naturally believe our own money personality is superior to all others, but, in actuality, it is ingrained in us from birth. We can no more change our money personality than the color of our eyes.
If you are the Saver in the relationship, communicate to your Spender spouse how much money you ideally need to have in savings in order to feel comfortable, then agree together on a spending budget, extend grace, and step back.
- How can a couple be intentional about money?
First, learn how to talk about money with your spouse. The next time you feel the urge to criticize your Spender spouse’s latest purchase, say, “This is who you are. Let’s compromise in an intentional way,” instead of, “You’re a stick in the mud!” Seek to serve each other, understand each other, and appreciate each other’s unique money personalities.
At the beginning of every year, sit down with your spouse and do a “Money Dump” – a tell-all session to hash out what worked, what did not, and how to move forward in the coming year. Then, each month, commit to a “Money Huddle,” in which you take a hard look at your finances and create a flexible, but solid, budget for the month. How you handle the topic of money is indicative of your whole relationship.
- How can a couple safeguard against “financial infidelity”?
Over 60% of married women and 35% of married men have a secret credit card or checking account. “Financial infidelity” works a lot like sexual infidelity—what starts as one little conversation at the water cooler turns into a full-fledged affair. Similarly, one little credit card that is left over from before you got married, or one little checking account you keep for spending money can turn into monumental debt and the destruction of your marriage.
Financial infidelity is epidemic in marriages due to these five major reasons: (1) financial separation, (2) overspending and debt, (3) control, (4) lack of planning, and (5) money secrets. Marriages can survive this type of infidelity if both spouses commit to holding each other accountable and maintaining open lines of communication to discuss their money relationship.
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