CBP: What is the premise of your book?
Palmers: Our book looks at individual money personalities and addresses a couple’s effective communication, mutual respect, clear understanding, and partnership in achieving personal and financial success.
CBP: Why did you write this book?
Palmers: As financial planners we have counseled literally hundreds of couples, and we have seen that there is more to financial planning then just a budget and dollar advice. We have seen this in our own marriage as well.
There are many books on financial planning that say “just do it,” meaning, create a budget and follow it. These books do not consider that we as humans with our many unique personalities will probably not be able to follow the “just do it” rules and be successful.
The need to discover and understand the money personalities in each individual is a prerequisite for making a budget and other key financial areas in life work. Once each spouse understands where the other is coming from, then the couple can work towards common ground for a budget and other financial “hot spots” that work for both of them.
CBP: What are some of the common ways couples disagree about money?
Palmers: The most common area that couples disagree about is that of spending and saving: Mr. Spendthrift vs. Ms. Tightwad. When couples approach spending and saving differently they are bound to run into problems. Couples may also disagree about how to approach debt. One person may see it as not a big deal, while the other cringes at the idea of debt. Couples sometimes disagree in terms of risk-taking and security-seeking. One partner may have an aggressive and assertive approach to money, while the other is more conservative and cautious. Couples may disagree about expectations and assumptions that each person holds about the way things should be done and about determining how to prepare for the future.
CBP: What creates the money personality in each of us?
Palmers: Each one of us has a money personality that is shaped by our upbringing, by the culture we live in, by certain innate personality traits, by our beliefs and values, and by how we have handled money in the past.
CBP: What are the different “money personalities” that the book describes?
Palmers: Essentially, each person fits into one of the six personalities named in our book. The Saver has a budget and has no problem sticking to it. This person is more concerned with saving than with using money for enjoyment.
The Spender enjoys using his money to buy material possessions and doesn’t tend to think about saving money or planning for the future.
The Debtor doesn’t necessarily spend a lot of money, but would rather have a credit card than cash. This person racks up a lot of debt over time, which causes a lot of anxiety when she tries to pay it off.
The Risk-Taker is always looking for new business ventures and investments and has no problem diving into them. The problem with this type of personality is that sometimes the ventures will pay off and sometimes they won’t.
The Security-Seeker is the opposite of the Risk-Taker. This person plays it safe with his money.
The last type is the Flyer. This person is unorganized and doesn’t feel like she has the time to deal with Finances; she would rather be doing something else.
CBP: What are the Five Hot Buttons that you detail in your book?
Palmers: The five hot buttons that we see over and over again in couples are budgeting, preparing for a future, investing, safeguarding, and charitable giving/tithing.
The word “budget” always evokes an opinion and usually a lot of emotion. What couples don’t realize is that a budget can be a unifying experience. It can help you focus on the big picture goals in one’s life, and it can keep couples from a disastrous bankruptcy.
In preparing for a future, couples need to answer questions such as, “How do we envision our retirement years? Who will pay for college for our kids? Will we help support our elderly parents?”
Couples usually have vastly different viewpoints on investments. There are so many investment options: real estate, annuities, stocks, bonds, mutual funds. It can be dangerous when only one partner is making investment decisions, leaving the other partner in the dark. Working together as a team can be exciting as you reap the rewards of a joint effort!
In regard to safeguarding, the number-one purpose of insurance—whether it is health, disability, long-term care, or life—is to avert financial crisis. Although this is a hot button, it is a powerful tool that not only safeguards your family’s financial future but also communicates volumes to your partner and reduces stress in the marriage as well.
Lastly, charitable giving and tithing, as with many other areas of finances, have the potential to enrich your life and marriage. With good communication and planning, you can experience the joy of giving and harmony in your marriage as well!
CBP: Does today’s young generation, 25-40 year olds, approach money differently from a generation ago?
Palmers: According to sociologists and historians, the World War II generation was labeled the “Greatest Generation” because of its courage and selflessness during World War II. The 70s and 80s era has been dubbed the far less flattering “Me Generation,” signifying the widespread self-centeredness that epitomized that period. Today’s era might be dubbed the “Buy-Now-Pay-Later Generation.” At every turn this generation is encouraged to satisfy our appetites now and count the cost later. In captivating and compelling ways, the media, advertisers, and others shout “Don’t deprive yourself! Get what you want. You deserve it.” With these attitudes so prevalent, couples are getting themselves into trouble by running on this treadmill.
CBP: What is the promise of your book and why should people read it?
Palmers: Most couples have conflict over money issues. Cents & Sensibility reveals how to discern one’s unique money personality and then, armed with this information, couples can reach an understanding over their money issues. This is a practical, easy-to-understand guidebook for engaged couples, young marrieds, and even seasoned partners that helps them work together on financial issues and puts them on the path to financial and relational harmony.