Overcoming Money Differences – Practical Tips From Real Couples That Work [W&S 72 ft Serena Wong & Sharon Sim] 

Money and Relationships: How Couples Manage Their Finances

When it comes to managing money as a couple, communication and understanding each other’s attitudes towards finances is crucial. Reggie and co-host Dawn take a candid look at this complex topic with guests Serena Wong and Sharon Sim – two finance professionals with years of investment experience on navigating this tricky situation most couples find challenge in.

Guest Introductions:

– Serena Wong, Head of Advisory at Family Office, Co-Founder of Women in Family Offices, Entrepreneur, Investor, Amazon #1 Author, Podcast Producer & Host

Serena has a finance professional with a diverse background in investment banking and wealth management, shares her experience working with individuals and families to navigate their financial journeys. Serena Wong spent her career in finance, working at GIC, investment banks, and most recently in a family office.

– Sharon Sim, Entrepreneur, Investor, Venture Capital GP, Family Office CEO, Author, TV Host, Podcast Series Producer

Sharon has an extensive career in financial institutions and a passion for investing, adds her unique perspective on the significance of money in relationships. Sharon Sim’s background includes stints at Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, wealth management, and currently working with startup companies through venture capital investing.

Serena Wong: “I need to come to the conclusion myself that this is the person I want to be with or this is what I want to do with money. So I need to go on that long meandering journey before I arrive and say, actually, the person that I need to be with is somebody who’s very open-minded, somebody who gives me a lot of space, a lot of ground, and somebody who’s financially equal.”

The Complexity of Blending Money Mindsets

Sharon adds to the discussion by emphasising the importance of shared values and compatibility when it comes to money in relationships. She shares her own experience of growing together with her husband, starting from carefree spending during their dating days to more serious conversations about family finances after getting married and having children. Sharon highlights the value of acknowledging and embracing the differences in each partner’s approach to money.

Our guests opened up about their personal journeys of blending finances with their spouses. Serena, recently married later in life after a divorce, reflected:

“For me, it was very hard to determine what exactly I wanted, but it was easier for me to say what I didn’t want. I realised what kind of relationship works for me – I need a lot of independence, freedom, and an open-minded partner who is more financially equal.”

Sharon Sim: “I think it’s really having that value of money, how you view money. We grow into each other. I think what is good is that we are very different. He’s the kind of guy who is very meticulous about budgeting. He’s a budget bro. I, on the other hand, have a different approach.”

Sharon has been married for many years, providing insights into how couple’s perceptions evolve over time:

“When we were dating, everything was rosy, with little serious talk about planning finances. As we settled down and had kids, it became more about serious conversations – family, money, investing.”

3 Keys to Making It Work:

1. Understand and accept your differences

Sharon highlighted how she and her husband have very different approaches to money management. He is meticulous with budgeting using detailed spreadsheets, while she prefers a broad overview.
“Initially it was a challenge because I’m not like that at all…After a while, I learned to accept and appreciate it because it helps with planning.”

2. Don’t nitpick the small stuff

Both guests emphasised letting smaller financial issues go and picking your battles. As Serena stated: “One of the myths is that you need to find somebody exactly like you. But the long-term partnerships that work well actually have very complementary skillsets.”

3. Set boundaries and allow independence

To maintain harmony, Serena and her husband have distinct personal investment portfolios alongside their core joint finances. “We don’t have 100% clarity and communication around money and finances, but we have 100% commitment that we’re in this together for the long term.”

Setting the Right Tone for Talks

One tangible tip Sharon shared: “My husband told me – please don’t bring something up before we go to bed…The bedroom is for sleeping, not for talking.” Choosing the appropriate time and setting for productive money discussions can go a long way.

Open Communication and Difficult Conversations

Both guests stress the significance of open and honest communication in handling finances as a couple. They acknowledge that discussing money matters can be challenging, particularly during times of financial strain or disagreement. Serena and Sharon emphasize that having difficult conversations, even when things are going well, is vital for building a strong financial foundation.

Serena Wong: “It’s really that communication, which is important. How do you communicate, especially when times are great and everyone’s happy? When we have issues, how do you have those difficult conversations? … It’s really that communication that I have experienced on many fronts, relationship, plus also work.”

Embracing Acceptance and Growth

The guests touch upon the concept of radical acceptance and personal growth within a relationship’s financial journey. They discuss the importance of accepting each other’s financial strengths and weaknesses and growing together as individuals and as a couple. “It’s about radical acceptance of who we are as a person and who the other party is as a person and growing along that journey.”

At its core, blending finances as a couple requires an evolution of understanding, empathy and allowing each person to maintain their identity. As Serena summarised: “It’s about a radical acceptance of who we are as people.” An insightful examination of a very relatable challenge.

You can check their full interview on Wise & Shine, Episode 72 on Spotify, YouTube, Google podcast, Apple podcast for a provides valuable insights into building a strong financial foundation within a relationship. Their experiences and expertise highlight the significance of open communication, shared values, and embracing personal growth. By fostering these principles, couples can navigate their financial journeys together, setting a solid path towards a prosperous future.

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