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The love language of money

The love language of money

The language of money

Financial compatibility isn’t something you usually consider at the start of a relationship. As someone about to reach the 25-year relationship mark, those early days are a dim and distant memory, but the question remains universal.

I don’t recall thinking about whether we had the same attitude to money and whether that really worked for me. The reality is that in a relationship, you need to talk the same language so you can understand and work with each other.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need think or feel the same, but you do need to be able to meet somewhere in the middle.

Is money a love language?

Recently, I’ve been reading about love languages. The concept was developed by Gary Chapman, Ph.D. in his book ‘The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts’.

I like all this psycho-analysis type of stuff and find it fascinating that many millions of human beings on the planet, can effectively be categorised in to just a few segments.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about relationships and how little time we spend on ensuring we truly are financially compatible before embarking on a lifetime together. If we tested our financial compatibility early in a relationship, would it lead to higher engagement, better connectivity and ultimately be longer lasting?

Things could run a lot smoother if we knew how to talk about money in a relationship.

The 5 languages of love and money


If there are indeed five love languages, can these be expressed in financial terms too? Here’s the five love languages and my take on what a financial expression of love could look like:

1. Words of affirmation

As a love language, this one is pretty easy to spot as it’s the verbal ques. The compliments, the “I love you’s”, the appreciation and the encouragement. In financial terms, I see this as being open and committed to a financial goal or dream.

It’s talking about it, being excited about it and working together to make it happen. It’s remembering to acknowledge the sacrifices being made and going on the journey together.

2. Acts of service

This is all about action. It’s what your loved one does for you to make life easier, to make life better. Financially, this could be the act of looking after the bills, of finding new rates when yours expire.

It’s the practical act of managing a budget and money. It could also be how your loved one protects you. This could be by making sure you have an emergency fund, saving for the future or by having insurance in place just in case.

Acts of service is definitely my financial love language!

3. Receiving gifts

Who doesn’t like receiving gifts? But, when it comes to love, it’s about the thought behind it rather than the value. When it comes to money though, this could be expressed by making the gifts financial.

Put money into savings or towards the repayment of debt. Small financial gifts to treat yourself with, instead of a temporary bunch of flowers.

4. Quality time

This is the love language that works for me. A partner who wants to invest in our relationship by spending quality time with me. Being truly present and connecting both mentally and emotionally.

Financially, I see this as sharing your financial know-how to give your partner the ability to manage their own financial wellbeing. Sharing experience, top tips and providing encouragement within the relationship.

5. Physical touch

Let’s keep it PG. Perhaps the most obvious of the love languages,  hugging, kissing, holding hands etc. All the stuff that literally makes me want to tell people to get a room!

Financially, I think this is about experiencing all the good things that money can buy. It’s being side by side enjoying things together. I visualise this as dancing in the rain with the person you love, there’s just something truly joyful and romantic about it.

My financial take on the love languages, is just my opinion. You may see or feel something totally different. I think this might be a subject that you could fall into a black hole with.

I fear that if I think about it much more, I may end up writing a book, as I feel like I could go on forever! So, in the meantime, let’s keep it brief and reflect a little.

  • How do you financially demonstrate your love?

  • How does your partner demonstrate their love?

  • Is it in the way that you need?

  • Do you need help learning to speak the same language?

Talking the same language


As Financial Adviser’s we tend to find that people fall into one of three categories when they think of and make decisions about money. Individuals either:

1. Focus on the past

Some individuals may make decisions based on what they’ve done or experienced before. If a decision worked out well, they may want to do it again and can, on occasion, be a little gung-ho increasing the risk taken. The opposite to this, of course, is if they make the wrong decision. The outcome could cause  fear to stop the individual from making logical decisions in new relationships.

2. Prioritise today

These people tend to live thoroughly in the present with no regard for tomorrow as tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Often living life to the fullest extent and possibly beyond their means. This is all great unless tomorrow does come, and then what?

3. Think about the future

Planning ahead is what you’d expect a Financial Adviser’s dreams to be made of and to some extent, it is. We are always encouraging people to think about the future and how to make their dreams a reality. However, if all you do is think about tomorrow, there is a risk that you’ll be the richest person in the graveyard.

Bridging the language barrier: money and marriage

Given my day job and the amount of time I spend thinking and taking about money, I think I’m a bit of all three and quite like that balance. As kids, we didn’t have loads of money, and I was acutely aware of the financial situation once I reached my teenage years.

This shaped how I think about money, and when asked what my number one financial goal is, my answer will always be to have financial security. For me, this means being able to support myself, have a nice lifestyle and not have to worry about money.

It stops me taking crazy risks, living beyond my means, and always makes me think about the future. I’ve seen too many people not live out their hopes and dreams, so I want to live for today but not at the expense of my future. That feels balanced to me.

My husband however is firmly focused on the future. Getting him to spend money on anything is a challenge and is probably the only thing we argue about. He wants to squirrel everything away until retirement, at which point he accepts (begrudgingly) that he may need to spend some of his stash. He also believes that he’ll always land on his feet and is a significantly higher risk taker than yours truly.

He pushes me outside of my comfort zone and I’ll admit that we’ve taken financial risks that I never would have taken alone, and they’ve paid off. He does, however, accept that sometimes he’s going too far and that a hard no, means no!

We are yin and yang; he pushes me and I rein him in. It works on the whole, but most financial conversations start as a source of friction. Would I want it any other way? A bit more balance might be nice but I’d rather him be ‘tight’ than me having to lose sleep about him spending every penny we earn.

I truly believe that financial compatibility is essential in a healthy relationship so if anything, this blog might just make you think about what you want and need so you can work with your partner to achieve common ground, if you aren’t lucky enough to have it already.

Knowing when to talk about money in a relationship is a daunting concept, but it will always play an important role and therefore it’s vital that it’s addressed.

For more help and advice, call us on 01482 275540 or, complete our contact form here. We also offer no obligation financial advice in our complimentary guide, covering wealth management, retirement, and inheritance tax planning.

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