Couples Talk About Money – Keep your money relationship healthy by By Kim Crewe
After sex and chores, money is the next biggest cause of arguments between couples. So, what are the best ways that you can ensure that money doesn’t become the big rift in your relationship?
To be financially healthy as a couple it is really important to understand one another’s money histories. Most of us have some quite unhelpful and untrue beliefs about our relationship with money from our childhood experience.
Put aside a good chunk of time, find yourselves some large sheets of paper and plot the timeline of your life. Add the key people, parents, other family members and anyone else of influence. Put a £ or $ sign by the ones who had a money message for you. Once you have both finished then take turns in talking through your timeline, focus on the money messages, do this without interruption and then change over.
We are generally attracted to partners who are different to ourselves but then as time goes on these differences frustrate us. If you can understand each other’s money blocks and where they come from you can begin to tackle them and create new habits.
What feeling are you trying to create when you think about money, for example does money bring you security, joy, fear, anxiety, stress or excitement? How comfortable are each of you giving money and how comfortable are you receiving money? What is the flow of money between you?
Do you know where you are going? If you don’t know where you are going you won’t get there! Do you have a shared goal for the future? Every year set and review your financial goals, write them down. Make your goals really specific, choose a date in the future when you will have achieved your goal and talk to each other as though you are there, and you have done it. For example, if your vision is to buy an apartment on a Caribbean Island, talk to one another as though you are in the apartment, describe what it looks like, the view it has, the smell, the taste of the food, really get into the experience. Then put the piece of paper away until the next review - this is not a to do or task list.
You may want to combine your money if you have been together a long time and are saving towards a shared goal. In order for this to go well you need to ensure that your money styles don’t clash, and you have a clear agreement between you. It is not helpful to stereotype one person as the spender and the other as the saver, we are all spenders and savers at different times, often influenced by how we feel emotionally at the time. Each of you will bring your family history and values which were instilled in you.
Put money dates in the diary so that there are regular times when you can have meaningful money conversations. If money issues come up in your day-to-day life, hold them until your money date if you can. Make the date when you are likely to be at your calmest. Just knowing the date is in the diary helps to avoid an emotional knee-jerk reaction to differences of opinion on money issues. Approach the date with an open and collaborative attitude, remember you are likely to have differing views. Do contact me if you are interested in joining our first Couples Talk Money 8-week programme to help you have money conversations with your partner. This programme will deepen your understanding of one another’s money history, reduce conflict and help you recognise what each of you brings to your money relationship.
Contact Kim Crewe, Financial Coach, [email protected]