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Love and Money: A few thoughts in this Valentine’s month

Love and Money: A few thoughts in this Valentine’s month

February 26, 2024

One of the top reasons relationships end is over conflicts about money! Having a different approach to spending and saving can damage even the most loving relationship.

For all the thought and preparation that goes into making a commitment to a partner, finding someone with a compatible money style is often given the least thought, that is until the contrasts become apparent.

According to Scott Rick, an associate professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and author of a new book, Tightwads and Spendthrifts: Navigating the Money Minefield in Real Relationships, people with different money approaches may find each other interesting, but the day-to-day reality can be challenging.


Naturally different people have different understandings of money, beginning with our family background and culture, and ending with how much money we make. Whether you and your partner are on the “tightwad” or “spendthrift” end of the spectrum, the secret to a happy co-existence over time is to meet in the middle. You can’t completely change who you are, but you can find a loving compromise.


When coming together in a relationship it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You don’t have to choose between a joint account or separate accounts. You can, and perhaps should, have both especially if you have widely different spending styles.

A joint account can cover shared expenses and establish a pot of funds for mutual goals like a vacation. Joint funds also remove conflicts over who is paying more for household expenses.

Separate accounts can also be the repository for an agreed-upon portion of our individual income, allowing each person to spend at their discretion without monitoring by the other person.


No matter how close a relationship or how deep the love match, we all like to have agency over our own lives. Having a partner who questions every financial transaction we make is not a recipe for longevity.

Rather than transparency, successful relationships are often built on “translucency” where important or major financial decisions are discussed and agreed on. An open conversation can help to “manage information” and decide how much needs to be shared between you. Not looking over each other’s shoulder all the time strengthens the relationship and builds trust.

Your One Financial Services advisor is always available to assist you, individually or as a couple, to create a financial future suited to your goals.