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Bench Talk: Money Difference and Relationships

So I don’t know if you remember the old jazz standard sung by Billie Holiday, the lyrics that go, “You like potato, I like potato, you like tomato, I like tomato. Potato, potato, tomato, tomato, let’s call the whole thing off.” It’s great song about differences in relationships and how hard it is to get along. You love them, but you can’t leave them.

I wanted to take that theme and comment a bit on people’s attitude about money in marriage. Marriage and money, it’s the number one stressor often for people. And why is that? We all have very deeply held views in how we deal with money. We grew up with them, really, it’s been ingrained since day one. Oftentimes it’s cultural influences, family influences, whether we’ve dealt with personal loss of tragedy in our lives. All of these things go into how closely, how much we cling on to money or how easily we can give it away.

But when it comes to money and marriage, the great thing is that this can be exactly the topic that can develop intimacy between couples. It’s a beautiful thing to see how one’s future and life’s dreams and goals get reflected in how you use money. It can be a complicated thing, for sure. Absolutely. I mean, there are couples that actually need the benefits of a third party to be that objective voice, whether that’s a therapist or a financial advisor.

So having different views of money can actually be a good thing and the process of discovery there can be a tool to draw you together. So back to the words of Billie Holiday. Vanilla, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry. Don’t call the whole thing off. Let your differences be something that draw you together.