Did you know that money is one of the topics couples fight about most often during the newlywed years and is a contributing factor in many divorces (Amato & Rogers)? A hot new book, "The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking The Same Love And Money Language", by the "Money Couple", Bethany and Scott Palmer, says that modern marriages are plagued by "financial infidelity", meaning there is a lack of transparency about money issues in the union. The authors say that Americans men and women are distinguished by which of the spectrum of five "money personalities" they possess, from being a tightwad saver to a reckless spendthrift. They make the important argument that before committing to one another to love, honor and obey for life, dating couples should understand the money perception differences in their future spouse. The authors stress that couples must learn to speak the same "money language" to avoid future misunderstandings and irreconcilable money differences that will ultimately doom the relationship.
We commend the authors for their timely and perceptive book. Unfortunately, this is the era of the instant relationship, where a romance begins with superficial commonalities and raw physical attraction and is fueled on the illusion that each lover shares so many of their partners' background, interests, tastes and goals. There is tremendous pressure to keep the momentum of the relationship going toward irreversible commitment and not reveal true feelings, tastes, money personality and goals. The partners will think they can deal with non-romantic subjects like money later, but by then they may be hopelessly mismatched financially.
Bethany and Scott Palmer challenge this senseless courtship with their list of "Twenty Questions To Ask Before You Say 'I Do'". themoneycouple.com This is the type of healthy dating behavior practiced in America a century ago. According to historian Ellen Rothman, "For both men and women, the best defense against deception was openness. After the turn of the nineteenth century, openness became an obsession for courting couples. In the nineteenth century, it was no longer enough to be sincere in one's affections; lovers were urged to be frank and open about everything." Including finances.
By following the wise guidance of the Palmers and the example of our forefathers and foremothers, couples can determine their compatibility financially. As co-equals in a companionate relationship, negotiations and allowances can be made before irreversible commitment would be made. Neither will feel defrauded after marriage if they enter into the union knowing full well how their partner behaves in the financial area, whether they be a spender or a saver. Imagine how many marriages will be improved by applying a healthy dose of common sense by determining financial compatibility before the trip to the altar!