“Money management is like sex: Everyone does it, one way or another, but not many like to talk about it and some do it better than others.” [See note below.] It’s inevitable — when it comes to money decisions, every couple faces disagreements. Numerous studies indicate that money is the # 1 reason why couples argue, not sex. And those money battles are usually the main reason the recently divorced give for untying the knot.
Interestingly enough, studies report that most couples actually do talk about money on a weekly basis. While anyone will tell you that talking about money is the first step in resolving the problems, talk alone won’t do the trick. So what’s the problem? Most of us don’t know how to talk about money. People tend to be emotional and reactive about money, not strategic or businesslike.
Have you ever asked yourself, what does money really mean to me? This is the first step —and challenge— to all couples out there who have ever found themselves in a conflict with their spouse over money.
Much of your money personality comes from your parents. How parents handled money often set the stage for your own attitudes toward finances. Were they savers, spenders, risk-takers, hoarders or completely unconcerned about it? It’s important to know what your spouse’s attitude is toward money.
As an exercise, each of make a list of what money means to you personally. Then share the list with your spouse. Do your attitudes overlap? Where do you differ? Ask each other for examples of how your families handled financial situations. You’ll probably find that you both describe them in terms of how you ‘feel’. Remember you can’t change the ‘money mind’ your partner learned, so focus on what will work for you both.
For an even more insightful exercise, consider the money personality assessment tool, card game that helps people understand their money type — Money Habitudes. It’s a very non-threatening way to look at your take on finances. And it’s followed by some suggested tactics to make the most of your dollars.
Discuss and identify a family financial mission statement and WRITE IT DOWN! The next time you have a dispute about money, read the mission statement together. This simple act will remove the emotional element when talking about money and help minimize fiscal mistakes. You and your spouse will put money where they belong – in your strategic business plan. This turns a disagreement into a discussion. If you use a business approach, you’ll focus in the issues not the emotions. And you’ll find the disagreements become minimal because you’ve both agreed to the principles and mission of money management.
©2017 Alpha Resource Center