Work Things Out Financially


I Like to Spend Money and My Future Spouse Likes to Save. How Can We Work This Out and Avoid Fighting?

Dealing with finances and money can be a major challenge in a marriage if spouses have a different relationship with money. There is no easy fix for this potential "deal breaker".

First of all, there needs to be an in depth discussion about each partner's history of making and spending money, and how this has worked out for them in their lives. It is also important to know financial realities when growing up as they clearly will influence the present sensibilities. Often, the "saver" will come into marriage with more savings and the spender may come in with debt. This is sometimes not so if there is a difference in earnings, but all things being equal, this will typically be the case. If it is agreed that the savings adds value to starting your life together, while debt brings with it stress and distress it may be possible to come to a compromise sooner rather than later.

It is important to understand that the saver places great importance on security, predictability and future gains and comforts rather than immediate gratification, while the spender clearly likes and values immediate pleasure, freedom and sense of living in the moment and not for the future. It is important to take into account these emotional aspects underlying financial differences and be emphatic and compassionate about them, rather than feeling like someone is trying to ruin or control your life. There is no "right" or "wrong" here.

Finally, I think it is very important that a budget is created together and that all bills are paid together so that it is clear how much money is available and how much is going out to pay bills. It is critical to discuss the value of savings, how much needs to be saved and for what purposes. It is important to talk about and understand what each person's future financial goals are and think about whether you are both on the same page. If there are major differences that you cannot resolve without feeling resentment, fear and hurt, think about how this may play out in your marriage over time and wonder about the viability of this relationship. Money disagreements are not just about money. There are very intense emotions and beliefs that are attached to this topic.

A word of caution: There will be "slip-ups" with both partners from time to time. It is normal, people don't change in relation to money easily and quickly. Talk about what is going on, try to understand and learn from each experience, remind each other and yourselves that you are a team now.

For further inquiries:

Check out Irina Firstein, LCSW, at

Phone: (212) 953- 1388