How To Manage Money Discussions Will Help You Achieve Financial Intimacy
Discussions on How To Manage Money Will Help You and Your Spouse To Achieve Financial Intimacy
Whether we like to admit it or not, discussions on how to manage money, or the lack of it in some cases, is the primary cause of divorce today. Perhaps we should take that concept a bit further, and say that the lack of communication, e.g., discussion of finances, leads many couples to the divorce lawyer.
Many books have been written on this subject, usually with different strategies on how to overcome the problem, and basically they all come to the same conclusion, couples must be able to discuss the topic of money in a healthy and constructive way. It’s easy to say, but sometimes hard to do, isn’t it?
Apparently the topic of money has become taboo. Is it because, as children, how to manage money wasn’t discussed in your family? Do you think if it had been you would be more open to discuss it with your spouse? Is it more prevalent with the current generation of couples? Many are doing research on this, and the results aren’t really that conclusive.
Some “experts” have coined a new term for the topic of how to manage money discussions, “financial intimacy”. They define it as being able to freely and openly talk to your spouse about your wants, desires, and needs, making yourself completely vulnerable, and then to know positively that your spouse will respect and keep that.
As it turns out, sadly, just the opposite occurs for many couples. For whatever reason, many are very reluctant to be vulnerable in any way, shape or form. They pull back, feeling unsafe, and tend to be on the secretive side. For that reason alone, many relationships begin to fall apart, another casualty of the issue of how to manage money.
Some experts believe that for the past generation or two, we’ve been taught that money was a topic that wasn’t nice or proper, not to be discussed, and swept quietly under the rug because couples just weren’t comfortable talking about it.
Some theorize that between the ages of 2 and 12, our brains develop patterns that remain for life. They go on to say that if you grew up in a family where money was not so plentiful, and probably a sensitive topic, you may have been scolded when you asked for money. Sayings such as “Do you think I’m made of money” or ” do you think money grows on trees”, would have made an impact on the young mind.
Later in life, when that child became an adult, he/she would be reluctant to discuss how to manage money because of those old reactions. By the time an individual attains age 25, brain patterns are pretty much formed, and today, many couples don’t marry until around age 25, so those early childhood patters are very much alive and active.
Psychologists have a number of methods that can be used to help individuals open up and talk about how to manage money in a healthy manner, but unless the individuals involved can get to understand their own behavior first, it won’t work. Still, the ability to effectively communicate with each other in a healthy way, is the most common and prevalent financial issue for many couples today.
Most of us have inherited certain patterns from our parents, whether we realize it or not, and until we can grasp that, and try to make changes accordingly, these issues will continue to exist. Getting these issues out in the open, and trying to be understanding of each others desires, will go a long way in helping the relationship.
As a financial adviser, and with some difficulty, I must say that sometimes it isn’t just about the numbers. It usually is better to have individuals focus their thoughts in building their lives based on their desires, hopes, and dreams instead. A good example is a couple that loves to travel, and one day, live in a foreign country. They should focus on the type of lifestyle they want to have and not on the amount of money they will need. Discussing how to manage money early in their marriage would provide them with a comfortable lifestyle.
Individuals in general still have a tendency to think that they will need more money as they get older. If they communicate effectively, and plan together based on their joint visions, they can usually accomplish that with less money than they thought. And yes, it’s critical for both spouses to put forth 100% each, in their effort to understand the others dreams and desires, and to communicate effectively. A good marriage is not 50/50, it is 100/100, and please, don’t be reluctant to discuss the topic on how to manage money.
An accountant and tax preparer by profession, Gust’s true passion lies in his company blog titled “HBS Financial Group, Ltd.”. Through this venue, he not only tries to teach individuals about budgeting, money management, and taxation but he writes the majority of the articles as well.