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Book Review: The 5 Money Personalities by Scott & Bethany Palmer

January 7, 2013

This month, my wife, Sarah, and I will once again be privileged to participate in Prairie Bible College’s Marriage & Family Life class, this year taught by Mrs. Marji Krahn, a lady who is practically my second mom! Along with sharing about our marriage in class, she has also asked me to present on marriage & finances early in the course. Thus, when I jumped at the opportunity to review The 5 Money Personalities by Scott & Bethany Palmer (Thomas Nelson, 2012).

The Palmers’ basic thesis is that a couple needs to know how you think about and deal with money the way you do – your individual money personality – in order to successfully communicate about money in marriage. They contend that money is not the problem and that financial restraints or acknowledgements are not the issue. Rather the core problem is that people do not know and own their money personality and then learn to communicate as a couple honestly about their respective personalities.

Positively, there are a number of good, practical illustrations to situations they have encountered as marriage counselors and how different money personalities can learn to work together and help each other. Most beneficial is the link to the online Money Personality Profile and the summary of each personality provided in the book.

Unfortunately, while agreeing with them that “every decision you make as a couple has a money component” (p. 19), I was not persuaded that failure to understand one’s money personality was the heart of the issue. At times, they even seem to admit money is not the issue and something else is at the heart of the conflict. For example, “You can address problems as partners, not as adversaries because you know that the other person is coming at the problem from a legitimate perspective that just happens to be different than yours. And when you know that, you can work through problems with respect and a true desire to find middle ground.” (p. 86) A combination of misunderstandings, poor communication, false assumptions, and dishonesty were present in too many of the illustrations to simply conclude the money personality was the disease. Rather, money was the chest pain or blood test revealing a deeper area of relational disease.

Despite this challenge, The 5 Money Personalities is a worthwhile read that has been helpful in preparing for the class and includes some great examples for those doing pre-marital counseling.

This book was provided for review by ThomasNelson publishers as part of the BookSneeze blog review program.

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