Finding Your Financial Love Language

Feb. 13, 2024

Do you know your financial love language? What about your partner’s? We’re all familiar with the love languages that help couples communicate how they receive and express love. Since everyone is different, this framework levels the playing field, so to say, to make it easier to connect, build strong relationships, and prioritize what matters to you as individuals and a couple. It takes the guesswork out of deciphering wants, needs, and intentions by opening lines of communication as a team and creating a strong foundation designed around your unique relationship.

The same concept and languages can be applied to your finances.

Financial exercises are typically thought of as budget reviews, checkbook balancing, goal setting, and decision-making. It’s transactional in nature because it’s a series of transactions. Our finances provide us the means to fulfill our needs and live out our dreams. How we get there, however, depends on our habits and approaches.

That’s where financial love languages come in – how do you approach wealth? You and your partner may agree on your goals but approach them in different ways. One might say a goal is to have a beach house during retirement, when they mean they want the freedom to travel. Or perhaps they prefer splurging on a few nicer items each year, when they mean they prefer sentimental gifts instead of an overabundance of presents.

Avoid these micro-misunderstandings that can create tension by creating an environment to discuss your financial love languages and ways to incorporate them as you both work to achieve financial confidence and security – together.

Financial Love Languages

If we take the relationship love languages and understand what each represents, we can then apply that logic to our finances – all with the intention of improving our communication and understanding of different approaches, priorities, and feelings around money.

Words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch are the infamous languages. Let’s discover your financial love language – and how you can practice it in your relationship.

Words of Affirmation

These are verbal acknowledgements, compliments, and phrases of encouragement. They can be spoken or written, all with the intent of making the person feel understood and appreciated.

This is an easy one to translate into our financial habits. It’s no secret that everyone, no matter how much wealth they have, should have a financial plan in place. So, for individuals who select words of affirmation as their language, supportive comments around their values, saving, and progress towards goals, are all ways to show you care and are there for them. You can also practice this language by teaching the next generation financial lessons important to you to “spread the wealth” and show you care for them.

And it doesn’t stop there. You can even go as far as having regular meetings with your financial advisor, who plays a critical role in helping you create a successful financial plan, to hear from your trusted expert that you’re on track and making good decisions. It may seem small, but even acknowledging strong balances in your accounts can go a long way. Vocalize when you are doing well and achieving what you want to accomplish.

Quality Time

As it may suggest, quality time is the act of spending, you guessed it… time with one another.

This can begin with deep discussions around values and your relationship with money (the good and the bad). While quality time is the physical act of being together, it also includes active listening, eye contact, and giving your partner your full presence and attention.

If we take it a step further, this can address the question, “What does money afford you?” Do you value buying experiences instead of things? It can even be simply having your money there for you in the form of an emergency fund or striving to maintain a certain balance in accounts that make you feel good about your savings. Reviewing balances and progress may already be part of your routine but lean into the love language by brainstorming ways to take it a step further. Finances can be made special.

Physical Touch

Physical signs of affection may not seem like they have their place in our finances. But hear us out, it’s the act of physically having money.

For example, if this is important to you or your partner, make it a priority to always have cash on hand. By carrying some emergency money, maybe a $5, $10, $20, and $50 bill(s) hidden in your purse or wallet, gives the peace of mind that you’ll never be without. Even though we’re living in the digital age, consider printing out statements, balances, and even your goals, to have them to hold and hang up as inspiration and motivation to keep going.

Acts of Service

Acts of service embodies going out of your way to do something kind for your partner. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but something to help make their life easier.

For your finances, discuss how money makes your life easier. Is it splurging on grocery pickup? Or is it the quality of professionals you can hire? Professionals range from lawn care services to accountants and financial advisors – discuss what you are looking for from your professionals and if there are others that better fit your needs. This can also include doing acts of service for others, like opening a 529 plan, gifts to minor kids or grandkids, or providing an intrafamily loan. Charitable gifts can play a huge role in this language, prompting conversations around your estate plan, setting up a charitable fund, and buying life, disability, and long-term care insurance.

There are endless acts of service. Spend a date night brainstorming different ways you can incorporate this language into your life.

Receiving Gifts

Gifts as your love language represents the thought behind the gift, and less emphasis on the monetary value. It’s the sentimental act that is meaningful.

Do you value budgeting to have money on hand to buy the things and experiences you want? Is it important to you to learn how to be generous in gift-giving on a budget? Are you on the same page for saving for things you want? Tangible items aside, financial gifts such as 529s, savings bonds, etc. can mean just as much as a physical gift because they allow you to stay on track with your savings. As the most direct connection to our finances, being on the same page with where gifts rank as a priority can help you plan and avoid disagreements.

Regardless of your financial love language, remember that financial journeys ebb and flow. Needs and goals change. Being in tune with your partner will make it all the easier to navigate as an aligned, supportive team.

A Guidebook to Help Continue the Discussion

Whether you need to speak to your kids, grandkids, parents, or your partner, our guidebook, The Financial Conversations Your Family Should Have, can help you get these important financial conversations started within your family.

Download now

You may also be interested in our post, Date Night Prompts: Financial Questions to Ask Your Partner, which shares icebreakers and financial questions to ask your partner, no matter which phase of life you’re in.

Please consult with an attorney or a tax or financial advisor regarding your specific legal, tax, estate planning, or financial situation. The information in this article is not intended as legal or tax advice.

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