It’s hard to believe that my husband, Mark, and I just celebrated our 32nd anniversary this month. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful relationship with my husband. He’s not only my partner, but he’s also my best friend and loudest cheerleader. Our marriage has always been strong, but I confess that I wish I had known then what I know now … especially regarding money psychology or money personality.

According to a survey by SunTrust Bank, money is the leading cause of stress in relationships. Although divorce rates are falling, nearly 40% of all marriages are dissolved before a couple reaches their ten-year anniversary. Again, money is the primary culprit. I realize no one enters a marriage with the anticipation of ending it, but there are ways to safeguard your union.

Tip #1: Work together with a financial planner.

The first suggestion I give friends planning a marriage and those who already are married is to consult a financial advisor. When I was an advisor for Ameriprise, a client said that working with me was pretty much the same as meeting with a marriage counselor. I suppose she was right. After all, an advisor is a neutral party who sees both sides of the financial coin and offers ways to make your money work for the two of you.

When you meet with an advisor, you put everything out on the table – there are no secrets. You know what your partner is bringing to the union, and your partner knows what you’re bringing – good and bad. There really isn’t a better way to start a partnership than with full disclosure, and working a financial advisor is the best way to achieve this.

Tip #2: Identify your money personalities.

A few years ago, I discovered that my husband and I have drastically different views of money. I knew that we didn’t always agree on how it should be spent, but it wasn’t until I identified our individual Money Personalities that our differences made sense. There are five: Love, Security, Value, Recognition and Status:

  • My Money Personality is Recognition. I view money as an opportunity to create something. I am a big thinker, risk taker and never give up — even to my detriment. My “disempowering belief” is that I need to prove I can do it.
  • My husband has a Security Money Personality. He views money as safety so he hoards it, looks for the best deal and lives below his means. He is not a dreamer or a risk taker. His “disempowering belief” is that no matter how much he has, it may disappear.

It’s no wonder we would often clash when dealing with finances. Before we discovered this, I couldn’t figure out why every time I shared an idea with Mark, he would play devil’s advocate (I saw this as ‘Shut her down!), and I would feel like I wasn’t being heard. Now I understand that he was afraid I would go do something risky.

Now that we both understand each other’s money personalities, it’s changed everything. We realize we are the perfect team. We cherish each other’s opinions and are no longer reacting to each other.

Regardless of what stage your relationship is in – engaged or married, identifying you and your partner’s Money Personality is key to a happy and healthy relationship. Knowing you and your partner’s mindset creates a greater understanding of why you don’t always see eye-to-eye when it comes to money, plus it deepens your relationship and bond. Knowing my husband’s mindset changed our household’s financial dynamics – it was astonishing.

Marriage isn’t always easy, but with your finances in order, and a financial plan in place, your odds of success are much higher. Working with a financial advisor and knowing you and your partner’s Money Personality can make a significant difference to your relationship and your future happiness!

If you are interested in scheduling your personal Money Personality Session, you can email me at katana@katanaabbott.com or visit my website and use this special $200 off coupon — SW200 — for our Smart Women members!