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Financially Married or Marred?

Posted on April 6, 2012

Financially Married or Marred?

After sixty nine years of marriage, my grandparents qualified as marriage experts. One afternoon my grandfather inadvertently shared an insight about the financial strengths of men and women.

My grandparents survived as farmers – no easy task. They started with nothing, worked hard, gradually obtained farmland, raised crops and cattle, and acquired more farmland. As we sat on his front lawn one day before he died, he sighed and speculated that he could have had more if my grandmother had been willing to borrow more.


Her position had been no debt at all; he wanted to borrow to buy a lot of land. Their mutually agreed-upon approach was to borrow to buy smaller pieces of land. Then, they paid it off before buying and borrowing for another.

Through years of hard work and wise financial decisions, he and my grandmother met all their financial goals and had enough to last for their lives. 

As Larry Burkett had often said, “If each of you is the same, then one of you is unnecessary.” My grandparents lived that out. She held his excesses in check a bit; he pulled her along to take some risk.

In working with many couples, I have observed similar dynamics. Men and women bring different financial strengths and perspectives to their relationship. Generally speaking, men are willing to take risks to provide for the future. These may be risks with investments or business opportunities. They are willing to make sacrifices to take those risks, such as long hours or debt or giving up luxuries.

Women tend to prefer security and prefer to avoid risk with debt or investments. They would rather make sacrifices for their family and relationships than for future financial reward.

Notice how these strengths tend to be opposites. Ah, that’s the fun challenge of marriage – maintain the right balance at the right time between these opposing strengths. If any of these strengths are carried to an extreme, they can become weaknesses. Our spouse can help check our extremes.

Jeremy L. White is a Certified Public Accountant with Blythe, White & Associates in Paducah.


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