By David Munn
In 1995, author Gary Chapman released his book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, which has gone on to be a long-term best seller. The premise is that there are 5 ways to express and experience love, called “love languages”, and we each respond differently to each one. The five love languages are:
Words of affirmation
Acts of service
For couples who don’t share the same love languages--which describes most couples--this insight undoubtedly created many “aha” moments as to why they didn’t necessarily feel loved at times by their partner, or why their partner didn’t respond in an expected manner to an expression of love.
In a similar vein, author Tommy Brown recently released his book, “The Seven Money Types”, which seeks to identify the differences in how we are each wired to handle money.
We have all, at one time or another, observed and been perplexed by the seemingly irrational financial decision(s) made by someone else, whether a spouse, child, or acquaintance. Though they may not have given the decision a second thought, your perspective was that it was wasteful, foolish, and possibly even irresponsible.
While many of us tend to naturally identify as either a “spender” or “saver”, our decision making process in both spending and saving is more complex. Brown makes the case that there are seven different money types, each of which is guided by a basic belief, a key characteristic, and a shadow side--or a potential flaw of our money type. Following is a summary of each:
Without even reading the book, most of us will naturally identify with one or more money types, and may also find an accurate description of a spouse, child or friend whose financial behaviour has been at times perplexing.
One of my first thoughts when reading this for the first time was of a pastor who I had a close relationship with in college. He would spend a large portion of his day going from restaurant to coffee shop, meeting with college students whom he was mentoring. I found this to be extremely wasteful and financially irresponsible for a poor pastor with a family to feed(I identify strongly with both the “Discipline” and “Endurance” types), but I now realize that based on his money type, “Connection”, he felt the best use of his limited resources was to buy food and coffee for poor college students, because that’s about the only way they would make time to meet!
While I would not make the same decisions if I was in his position, it was enlightening for me to recognize that his decisions were not necessarily wasteful or irresponsible; we are simply wired for different outcomes and different values.
If financial decisions have ever been a point of conflict in a relationship--particularly with a spouse or child--take some time to identify the money type of everyone involved, and consider how that impacts everyone's different perspectives on the situation.