Retirement: Venus Saves, Mars Spends

Here are the three most common money personalities. See which one best describes your partner.

Planning for retirement can be a serious source of conflict if you and your mate don't see eye to eye. In my professional practice I work with couples who are in conflict over finances. Every couple has its own situation and dynamic, but three situations come up time and time again. See whether your husband is most like Phil, Fred or George -- and how you can work with him to get your retirement spending on track.

Men like Phil, for instance, do not worry much about saving. "Phil is carefree, which attracted me initially," says his wife Marcia. "But in 10 years we haven't saved a dime, and it bothers me, but he doesn't care." What makes it worse is that Marcia is a dedicated saver: "I feel guilty because I squirrel money away."

Then there's Fred, who refuses to discuss money matters at all. He needs to feel that he is in control, and tells his wife Susanne, "Trust me, I've always provided for the family and I always will." But Susanne never knows where she stands financially, and although they are well off, Fred complains that her spending will bankrupt them.

Finally, there's George. He is so eager to save that it seems like an obsession. George spends hours charting the progress and fiddling with the mix of mutual funds in their 401(k) plans. George is so excited about the growth of their money, says his wife Rosemary, that he hardly wants to talk about anything else.

Sound familiar?

No matter how your spouse handles money, you need to be prepared before you bring up the subject of your retirement. Read articles, then try using online retirement planner and calculators such as those at or T. Rowe Price to get an idea of how large a nest egg you need.

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