Discussing Your Values

by Dual Income No Kids on February 2, 2008 · 0 comments

Hi All,

Most of the blogsphere talks a lot about saving and investing. There are fewer good postings on personal finance for couples and even less on working as a team when you’re in a committed relationship.

While we certainly aren’t experts in marital and financial issues, one helpful aspect of our marriage is that we’ve openly discussed our values. This is important because it gives us a a basis for recognizing where we have differences and where we can better forge consensus when setting goals and working together on them.

Frankly, our values are pretty different from each other – Miel prefers freedom and James is more interested in security. But, negotiating our goals are a lot easier because we’re aware of the differences in our values. For instance, we can choose to compromise by putting part of our money into a goal that provides freedom (such as paying down debt) and part of the money in something more security focused (like maxing out our retirement).

We realize that both of these goals help us financially, but they also help to cement our marriage. Like most things life it isn’t necessarily about the end goal, but the process. If we have loads of money and hate each other because of what it took to get there, it doesn’t much matter at all. By openly discussing your different values you can ensure that both people are satisfied while still building a strong marriage.

How do you do this? We ended up using David Bach’s book Smart Couples Finish Rich. Bach’s book has a number of exercises which help you work out your values, but all you may need to do really need to do is list them. If you’re sitting down with your partner, try drawing your top five values. Values are typically things like: security, making a difference, personal growth, love, health, power, family, etc. You should be careful to distinguish your values from goals. Goals would be something like: save a million dollars, take a trip to Europe, be debt-free, etc.

It’s a worthwhile exercise and it might help improve how you and your partner talk about money.

Best,

James & Miel

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DINKS (Dual Income No Kids) Finance focuses on personal finance for couples. While by no means financial experts, we strive to provide readers with new, innovative ways of thinking about finance. Sign up now to get our ebook, "Making Money Tips for Couples" FREE.

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