My husband and I have very different money personalities. We are both primarily spenders, but, secondarily, he is a flyer and I am a security seeker. So saving is important to me. My husband has vague ideas about wanting a secure future, but doesn’t fuss too much about it if it means he can enjoy something else now. However, because he is a flyer and not interested in dealing with money, saving does happen in our household finances: I just have money automatically deposited into a retirement account, a 529 for our son, and into an emergency fund.
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Not all couples are in this position, though. In many cases, both partners are involved in making most of the money decisions. One partner may not feel as strongly about saving as the other. If you are interested in helping your partner learn how to save, here are some things you can do to convince him or her that saving is the right thing to do:
First of all, you need to know where your partner is coming from. Make an effort to understand his or her money personality, and use that as a starting point. You should also consider the motivations your partner has when it comes to money. My husband prefers surrounding himself with things, while I like going out and have experiences. Saving up to buy things at Summerfest each year appeals more to my husband than saving up to go on a vacation.
Understanding your partner’s relationship with money can help you frame the discussion in a way that shows that you understand your partner’s desires, and can help you use language that is more encouraging. Do your best to explain your own interests in “I” language, and try to adopt a non-accusatory tone. In most cases, if you can show that you are willing to accommodate some of your partner’s wants, he or she will be more likely to agree to do something (like saving) that is important to you.
One of the reasons some partners might not want to save might be because he or she feels no ownership in the goals. Take some time to sit down together and decide what you both want in the future. Whether you are setting short-term goals or long-term goals, do it together. If you are working toward something as a couple, your partner will be more likely to agree to save up for it. Creating a plan together can be a great way to grow closer as a couple, as well as develop a habit of saving.
Sometimes, it can help to have a little fun together. Purchase a piggy bank, and then have each person contribute left over change each day — or even any ones or fives found left over. Decide whether you want to put the money in a savings account, or use it to go out to dinner. In some cases, making the piggy bank the “dinner” fund can prevent you from going out as much, or as expensively, clearing up room in your budget for savings contributions. Then, when the bank is full, you can either smash it, or just empty it. Either way, it’s fun to count the money together.
Think of other creative and fun ways you can save together. When you make saving something fun that you can do together, it becomes less of a burden, and it can encourage your partner to think more about the benefits of saving.