Tired of arguing over bills? Simple tips to get on the same page with your partner [W&S 77 Sponsored by OCBC] 

Financial Harmony in Marriage: How Couples Can Align Their Financial Personas

What’s your money narrative? More importantly, how does it align with your partner’s financial persona? These were the key questions explored in a recent OCBC Financial Wellness Festival.

The live episode featured candid conversations with two real-life couples who opened up about the inevitable financial tensions that arise when you combine different money mindsets under one roof.

Money is a leading cause of divorce, but open communication can help couples navigate differences. Dawn noted many argue over money like her parents did, so she and her husband discussed finances early. “Recognising we were just stressed…we decided not to talk about money when we’re not in a good space.” Choose low-stress times.

Couples on set:

  • Nicholas Huang – Real Estate Consultant and husband to SG Budget Babe
  • Dawn Fiona – Founder of SG Budget Babe
  • Aaron Chwee from OCBC’s Head of Wealth Advisory

The Core Money Narratives and How They Clash

Right off the bat, Dawn drove home an crucial point that many overlook when caught up in the romance of marriage: “Your biggest financial decision in life is actually who you’re going to marry.”

She revealed that she and Nicholas took their respective OCBC financial persona quizzes early in dating and seemed to be opposites – she a diligent “Planner” and he an optimistic “Dreamer.” 

Balance perspectives for wise decisions

Nicholas, a realtor, recalled always seeing opportunities while Dawn foresaw risks. “She helps me…tell me to check conditions before jumping.”

Aaron’s situation was trickier – he’s a self-professed “Planner” while his wife is a “Guard” who tends to be very private and cautious about money matters. As he candidly shared:

Goals unite despite differences

“I must confess it is not easy because being a ‘Guard’ also, she’s very guarded. Your money is my money. My own money – you cannot know. So I don’t really know how much she has.” He shares that it’s important to have common goals…centered on our retirement.

Meet partners where they are

Overlooked personas require extra effort. Guardians like Aaron’s wife feel uncomfortable with risk. “Have checkpoints…make little progress” to slowly build confidence.

This contrast leads to predictable financial friction. Aaron recounted a time when his wife decided to invest based on a family discussion, but stuck with the position for too long against his advice – resulting in losses that made her even more guarded going forward.

United fronts ease stress

Major life events require teamwork. Dawn and her husband’s first goal was wedding planning, which caused arguments. They learned to recognize triggers and delay tense talks. Compromise grew their family seamlessly. Step-by-step co-planning works.

The 3 Keys to Aligning Financial Personas

Despite the apparent clash of financial personas, both couples modeled constructive ways to find common ground:

  1. Respect the Other Persona

    As Dawn wisely stated, “You can’t go into the relationship with the mentality that I’m the saver, the saver is always better than the spender – that’s just a recipe for disaster.”

  2. Communicate to Understand

    Neither couple judged the other’s persona. Instead, they communicated to understand the rationale behind each perspective. Dawn noted this openness allowed them to recognize the value the other persona brought to their financial decision-making.

  3. Make Decisions Together

    Reggie highlighted the wisdom of jointly agreeing on big financial decisions to avoid future resentment. As Dawn summarized: “If you made that decision together, there’s no blame. It was a decision we made together, and I think that keeps the relationship healthy.”

In one example, Nicholas convinced Dawn to get a car by modeling how his hectic schedule with 6-10 appointments per evening made ridesharing unsustainable. His calculations revealed buying made more financial sense for their situation – even though it went against Dawn’s earlier blog post declaring cars unnecessary in Singapore.

Finding Balance and Compromising

The discussion made it clear that financial harmony in a relationship is an ongoing process of finding balance.

Aaron noted he tends to be a saver for small daily expenses but a spender on major purchases – the opposite of his wife. To compromise on big expenditures like cars, they have a system of planning and saving toward a self-funded purchase amount he’s comfortable attaining before proceeding.

Meanwhile, Dawn described how she and Nicholas have influenced each other over the years – with her spending more on conveniences he highlights as valuable, while he’s become more adept at saving conscientiously.

Nicholas summed up their dynamic: “I’m someone who jumps off a plane without a parachute. She tells me I need to pull the ripcord and check wind direction first. I always listen to her perspective on potential pitfalls, then decide if it still makes sense to proceed.”

By respecting each other’s financial persona, communicating to understand differing perspectives, and making major money decisions together, these couples have navigated the inevitable financial forks in the road of marriage. Their honest discussion modeled how to blend money narratives into a unified vision for a couple’s financial well-being.

You can check their full interview on Wise & Shine, Episode 77 on Spotify, YouTube, Apple podcast for more examples from their journey navigating financial decisions together, the podcast guests offered a masterclass on maintaining harmony despite differences. Through open communication and mutual understanding, any couple can achieve financial sync.

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