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Feature Article


Money talks: The value of understanding

Kim Allen, Ph.D., M.F.T., former State Specialist & Director of Center on Adolescent Sexuality, Pregnancy and Parenting (CASPP); & Christina Crawford, M.A., former Extension Associate, Human Development & Family Studies, University of Missouri Extension


Arguments about money are rarely only about money — they’re also about our values. How your partner wants to spend money may be different than how you want to spend money. You each have a different value, hence the disagreement. Understanding your partner’s values can help nurture your relationship and can help reduce the amount of conflict.

How much do you know about your partner’s money values? How much do you know about your own values?

Read each of the statements below and rank your response using the following scale: 1=strongly agree, 3=neutral, 5=strongly disagree. Have your partner do the same and then compare your answers. Use this as an opportunity to talk with your partner about each of your values and experiences. The more we know about each other, the easier it is to communicate and connect.


  1. Money was a source of stress in my family growing up.
  2. My family had a great influence on how I feel about money today.
  3. I spend money wisely.
  4. My partner spends money wisely.
  5. My partner and I have frequent conflicts over money issues.
  6. Money is a source of stress in my current household.
  7. I can easily talk with my partner about money issues.
  8. I am happy with how my partner and I spend money.
  9. It is important to me that I set goals for my family’s future.
  10. Bills should always be paid on time.
  11. It is important to save for the future, even if it means having a little less today.
  12. It is important to live in the moment and not worry about what we will have later.
  13. It is important to buy name-brand items.
  14. I like having control of where our money goes.
  15. Before making large purchases, it is important to discuss the purchase with my partner.



Fletcher, C.N., & Sternweis, L. (2004). Money mechanics: Communication. Iowa State University Extension.


Hudson, N.W. Getting to know you, your co-spender, and money. Ohio State University Extension.


Hudson, N.W. (2004). Marriage matters: Money talks, Vol. 3, Issue 1. Ohio State University Extension.


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Last Updated 02/21/2012