Today is a special day here on “No Dumb Questions.” YOU may be a “No Dumb Questions” fan, but what about your spouse or partner? If they don’t typically follow the series I hope they will … starting today. Because today’s conversation involves both of you.

What should you do if one of you is more financially savvy than the other, or even if you’ve just got different approaches to how you manage your money?

Here’s one thing I bet we can all agree on: There is no single path to THE perfect financial partnership. Over the years, I think I’ve seen as many creative ways to manage marital money as I’ve seen couples planning for their happily-ever-after lives.

That said, while the details may vary, most couples’ wealth management tends to fall into two broad categories. Sometimes, both partners remain fully engaged in it. More often, one spouse becomes “the financially savvy one” in the family.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a “divide and conquer” approach to your chores. But for something as important as your wealth, two heads truly are better than one … especially if the two of you come to the table with significantly different mindsets about earning, saving, investing, borrowing, budgeting and spending your marital money.

That means it’s almost always important. Here are three reasons why.

1. There are a number of studies demonstrating that men and women tend to bring different skill sets to the table.

Of course each of us is unique, so these rules of thumb may not apply to you. But a number of studies have shown that men tend to be more aggressive and confident traders; women tend to be more cautious.

In 2001, University of California professors Terrance Odean and Brad Barber published a landmark study on trading differences by gender. They compared the excessive trading habits of men versus women among 35,000 households over six years. The study found that most investors – men and women alike – traded more often than they should to achieve best outcomes. But men were more susceptible to it than women. Their excessive trading reduced their net returns by 2.65% per year, while women’s excessive trading reduced their net returns by 1.72% per year.

Barber and Odean also found that single men traded even more excessively compared to single women. The point is, by combining your “Mars/Venus” viewpoints, maybe you can both be better investors – finding a happy medium where you’re neither too aggressive nor too timid with your investing.

2. Beyond any battle of the sexes, each of us has our own money “personality” to account for when planning for years of communal bliss.

Financial psychologist Brad Klontz suggests each of us tends to identify with one of four kinds of money scripts:

  1. Some of us avoid money.
  2. Others worship their wealth.
  3. Some consider wealth to be a status symbol.
  4. Some people are particularly frugal.

No script is inherently right or wrong. But if the two of you aren’t on the same page, it’s well worth being aware of and sensitive to one another’s mindset when you talk about your wealth. The differences between you are exactly why it’s so important that both of you come to the table when you’re planning your future together. In fact, a big part of my role as an advisor is to help couples sort out these sorts of issues to arrive at positive outcomes.

3. Women usually outlive men … to the tune of about five years longer for Canadians born in 2017.

Sorry, guys, but actuarial tables don’t lie. Plus, “gray” divorce for couples 65 and older has been on the rise. Ladies or gentlemen, if you’ve long been the “melt-away” spouse – the one who disappears into the background during financial conversations – this doesn’t bode well if you’re suddenly left in charge.

Now, none of this means you both need to pore over every bank statement. It may still make plenty of sense in your busy lives if one of you serves as the family’s “Chief Financial Officer.” BUT, if one of you has assumed a secondary role in your marital wealth management, I do recommend you both retain some minimum skin in the game, so either of you can act as the household CFO if needed.

What might that level of engagement look like, and what are some of the emotional hurdles that often stand in the way? Subscribe to my “No Dumb Questions” series, and I’ll cover that next.