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Suze Ormanís Financial Compatibility Quiz

A Suze Orman exclusive

If you truly love your partner and are determined to build a life-long relationship, you need to be committed to a life of financial intimacy with them as well. As I explained in the article, financial intimacy is not about contributing the same amount to the joint checking account. I am talking about building an understanding and respect for your individual financial personalities and learning how to meld any differences so you are financially in sync.

The quiz below is adapted from my book The Courage to Be Rich. Each of you should complete the quiz for your partner. Then the fun begins. Does your partner’s view of your money habits jibe with how you think you approach money matters? Are your financial personalities quite different? Almost every couple, I bet, will discover some variances somewhere.


Within each group of statements below, circle the statement that best describes your mate.

A. Fails to adequately tip the coat-check person in restaurants as a matter of course.
B. Seems unusually taken with luxury items, like wildly expensive cars, clothes, or gadgets.
C. Has a weekly date with friends at the racetrack or a high-stakes poker game.
D Never balances the checkbook, and/or regularly bounces checks.
E. Keeps the checkbook balanced at all times.

A. Invites you to dinner, chooses the restaurant, then complains about the prices on the menu.
B. Expresses material longings for things--vacations, jewelry, etc.--way beyond his or her budget.
C. Constantly buys and sell stocks for the thrill of it, rather than as carefully considered economic moves.
D. Seems to regard his or her parents or others as a source of income.
E. Is saving the maximum allowed by law in retirement accounts, and monitors all these investments to make sure they are performing to the best of their ability.

A. Complains about child support obligations.
B. Tries to impress your friends by bragging about money.
C. Prefers to take vacations in places where there is gambling.
D. Has a messy wallet, or a wallet full of maxed-out credit cards but absolutely no cash.
E. Never buys an item to impress others, and never brags about money.

A. Talks about using his or her business expense account for personal items.
B. Cannot pay off credit card bills at the end of every month.
C. Cannot get up and walk away from a gambling table, even if losing badly.
D. Spends money on a new pair of expensive shoes, even though other bills are overdue.
E. Loves to talk about finances and is open to teaching you.

A. Seems uncomfortable using the pronoun “we”.
B. Can never go into a store without buying an item whether he or she needs it or not.
C. Is constantly baffled where the paycheck went.
D. Receives calls from bill collectors.
E. Is charitable and generous and does not define him- or herself by how much is in the bank account.

A. Would never put loose change into a donation box after making a purchase.
B. Gives you unusually expensive gifts that you know he or she can't afford.
C. Is constantly placing bets, be it on a backgammon game or an office pool.
D. Avoids talking about money and acts like everything is just fine when you suspect it isn't.
E. Pays all the bills on time, and rarely carries a balance on credit cards.

Scoring: Count how many of each letter you have circled and record the number below.

A____
B____
C____
D____
E____

The letter with the largest number reveals your partner's primary money traits.

The key:

A = Penny pincher
B = Spendthrift
C = Gambler
D = Financial wreck
E = Financial catch

Okay, so what to do with this information? Start talking. If you are far apart you need to see where you can find some common ground. I don’t care how in love you are now, or how much you insist it doesn’t matter that you are a financial catch and your partner is a financial wreck. It does matter. A lot. And the longer you are together, the more it is going to matter. Disagreements over money, a failure to have a united financial game plan, are among the biggest factors in busted relationships.

But I also want to remind you to be patient. If you are financial opposites you are not going to resolve your differences in one conversation. Still, over the course of many conversations, where you can both express your own concerns and also truly hear your partner’s, you can begin to build a financial arrangement that works for both of you. Remember that financial intimacy, like any other kind, takes time and effort.

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