- “For Love & Money” is Insider’s bi-weekly column answering your questions about relationships and money.
- This week, a reader asks how to get on the same page as her partner about money.
- The reader is not motivated by money and his partner is, and this creates an “imbalance”.
- A question for our columnist? Write to For Love & Money using this Google form.
Expensive for love and money,
I am not someone who is motivated by money, but my partner is. Because of this, there have been imbalances in my relationship.
I want to do my part financially, really. Do you have any tips on how to see money in a different way / become motivated by the green stuff?
Not motivated by money
Expensive not motivated by money,
I have a theory that the reason sharing money is so difficult is that even when the partners are on the same page, they are not the same person. Groundbreaking insight I know, but even though we all learned the importance and difficulty of sharing in kindergarten, a hundred fairy tales have told us that strong relationships are made of two people who don’t just support each other. unconditionally, but who unconditionally agree with each other.
When it’s our idea of ââa good, healthy relationship, the minute we put money on the table, we’re going to be disappointed. Because sharing is by definition a sacrifice, and sharing money doesn’t just mean sharing a finite resource, it means sacrificing some of the values ââyou have adopted about that finite resource in your lifetime to make money. place the values ââof your partner. .
Adopting your partner’s mindset is not the solution
I mention this because you blame the imbalances in your relationship on yourself and your partner’s different motivations, and I just want to make sure that it’s not just normal, it’s the reality of mixing love and love. ‘money. Show me two people who all want the same things, for the same reasons, the same way, all the time, and I’ll show you an idealistic prime-time drama drama.
That’s why I don’t think the answer here comes down to embracing your partner’s mindset. Because to motivate you more with the green stuff, I suspect we should rework your whole childhood. Since that won’t happen, any solution I could give you would probably work just as well for most New Year’s resolutions: a week of scrambling like a boss, followed by emotional exhaustion from fighting your personality. innate for a whole week, which will leave you less motivated than before and your partner more frustrated than ever.
So instead of telling you how to become the same person as your partner, I’m going to tell you how to be on the same page as your partner: goal setting and budgeting.
A 2-part strategy for overcoming financial difficulties in a relationship
Start by finding a common goal
In my experience, goal setting is the best way to find a mutually satisfying financial compromise. Maybe your partner wants $ 50,000 in savings to feel safe and successful, and while you aren’t opposed to $ 50,000 being set aside for a rainy day, you don’t want it all. just not enough to make the sacrifices it takes to get there. But whether you consciously realized it or not, your lack of desire for that $ 50,000 comes from something you want more, even if that something is just more downtime and less stress.
Before you set goals with your partner, you need to take a minute and figure out what you want more than money, and then you need to stick to that desire. You are no less of a person because you are not motivated by green things and your partner is no less of a person because they are. You are two different people with two different personalities, and that’s okay. The trick is to respect yourselves and respect each other enough to make sure that each other’s needs are met.
In your case, maybe a mutually satisfying compromise means that you are working towards your partner’s financial goal, but you can do it your way (i.e., you don’t take any side work. to strive for its goal, but you agree to spend less). Or, a compromise can mean lowering the financial goal to a number that will still satisfy your partner but make you feel less overwhelmed. Whatever the case, together set a goal that you both can live with.
Budget to achieve your goal
Budgeting is one way to make your goal a reality. Your letter doesn’t give details, but I suspect that the imbalances you are talking about are due to your partner wanting you to earn more, spend less, or both. Maybe I’m wrong, but your desire to conform to your partner’s relationship with money tells me that the imbalance you mention is probably that your partner is working harder in one capacity or another, and therefore makes most of the decisions. It is not an imbalance that will be corrected by one person setting the agenda (or budgeting) and the other person doing their best to stick to it. It’s still an imbalance, and not very lasting. The budget you build together should reflect your motivations, limitations, and goals, as well as those of your partner.
One thing that I have noticed in highly motivated people like your partner is that their deepest value is usually not money or success, it is the amount of energy that they are ready. to devote to the things that matter to them. It’s caring in general. This often means that for a highly motivated person in a relationship with someone less motivated, it is not the imbalance between the amount of money that is in the bank account and who put it there that bothers them. , it’s how much energy their partner is (or isn’t) willing to spend looks like a direct reflection of how much they care.
Is it good news for you ! Instead of directing your energy towards merging the mind with your partner and transforming yourself into Warren Buffett, you can instead direct your energy to the emotional work of finding out what motivates you and pursuing it with the kind of passion that will show your partner how much you care. And I can tell from your letter that you care a lot.
Rooting for both of you,
For love and money