Marriage and Money

Security VS Risk

We are all wired with the drive of two opposing needs in our lives: The need for certainty and the desire for risk. Although each of us may feel the drive of one to be stronger than the other, in a marriage there is often one partner who is more of a risk-taker and one whose drive for security is their dominant need. How do we develop a balance where both partners’ needs in the relationship are recognized and fulfilled?

I often meet with couples who live each day in constant turmoil over their inability to come to terms with their opposing needs. For example, while one pursues their dream of being self employed, the other deeply longs for the stability of a consistent paycheck and cash in the bank. This is frequently the primary conflict in a relationship with each person fighting for their core beliefs. Since neither can control the way they are innately wired, this battle often leads to relational destruction.

The human need for certainty is one that can never be ignored. Those who have this as their primary need will have a difficult time experiencing internal peace until this need is met in their finances. Although sometimes this can be challenging, it is often as easy as making a few key decisions that will lead to the fulfillment of such desire.

When advising couples who face this relational battle, I suggest the following to help find common ground:

1. Establish a budget and live within it-This will help provide security that cash will be available to meet the needs of the family, as well as the comfort of knowing that the spending will be controlled.

2. MAKE SURE you have a cash reserve-This is especially true if there is a self employed income earner in the household with unpredictable levels from one month to another. When there is a cash reserve, money is available to balance the lean months and it can be replenished in the higher income earning months.

3. Eliminate all consumer debts and free up the burden of monthly expenses-Eliminating consumer debt frees up cash flow. The extra cash flow can increase savings and thereby increase financial security.

4. Always accommodate the needs of the more conservative partner-The needs of a risk-taker as well as a certainty driven person can only be met simultaneously if the financial security is in place for the more conservative partner.

As a part of the services we provide, we advise clients on steps to help fulfill the need for financial security. There are often opportunities to reallocate how the assets and liabilities are held to expedite the process. Otherwise, the solution lies in establishing a plan and a budget that will accomplish the goal over time. For some, the results are fast and easy. For others, it will be a process that will require patience and determination. Call or e-mail me to discuss your individual situation in greater detail, and to see the tools we have available to assist you.

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