We all want it. We all need it. But for one reason or another, most of us find it difficult to talk about money – especially when the conversation involves our significant other. No matter how hard the talk is to have, the reality is that you can’t create a truly great relationship until you can openly communicate about money.
Think about dating relationships. Money is the one subject people will lie about most. People tend to stretch the truth a bit when it comes down to talking about the dollar. They do all kinds of things to influence how others perceive their finances. While some conceal their money so they can be certain they’re not being used, others spend money they don’t have trying to impress the object of their affection. This may work out with surface level interaction, but when dating becomes a full blown relationship, it’s time to get real. . . . And, here are a few questions to help you get there:
1. “How did your parents handle money?”
We all have a financial blueprint; the way we specifically interact with our money. For most of us, our financial blueprint was handed down to us by our parents almost like a strand of DNA. But, it’s important to remember that no one is born with a particular attitude towards money. We were all taught how to act and think about money matters. These conscious and subconscious beliefs, ideals, thoughts and actions are what create our financial blueprint.
Talk to each other about what you heard about money and what types of behaviors you witnessed regarding money and financial matters. Once you can understand the environment a person grew up in or the way their parents or other influential people in their life handled money, it’s easier and much less frustrating to understand a person’s money style.
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2. “What does money really mean to you?”
When it comes to our relationships, money is NOT the issue that many seem to believe it is. Money, that little green piece of paper in your wallet, in and of itself is powerless. It’s actually what the money represents to two different individuals that becomes problematic.
Money represents different things to different people. Money and material items might equate to love and affection for some. For others, it could represent the difference between control and dependency or safety and stability. If a person was brought up in a family, where expensive presents were given as a sign of love and affection, they might expect to get the same treatment from a partner even as an adult. But suppose their partner was raised to believe that working hard, saving money and providing a stable home environment meant love and affection? These are where two people who may mean well, can often bump heads.
3. “Despite our differences, how can we create and commit to shared financial goals?”
Here’s where the “So What, Now What?” attitude comes in. If you’re not going to break up over the fact that you’re a spender and he’s a saver, then it’s time to figure out what goals are most important to you, individually and as a couple. If it’s too early in the relationship to be considering goals like purchasing a home together, then create individual goals and hold each other accountable. Now that you know each other’s financial strengths and weaknesses, don’t use them as tools to condemn one another. Rather, use it as a way to empower each other to be better, do better and achieve more. After all, relationships, romantic or otherwise, should always leave you better than they found you. . . eh, well, we hope so!
Until Next Time,
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