|ABC News, January 4, 2011:
How to Have a Great Money Relationship in 2011
When we talk about your financial relationship, we’re not just talking about those moments when you and your partner sit down to pay bills or balance the checkbook or tally up receipts. We’re talking about the ways money decisions filter in to every part of your lives. That means that the way each of you thinks about money, talks about money, and deals with money will have an impact on everything from your grocery bill to your sex life.
That’s why it’s essential for couples to develop healthy financial communication skills. Part of doing that is knowing how to avoid some common pitfalls when in comes to money. This week is Part I of a two part series. We’re going to cover some of the financial mistakes couples make and ask you to think about how they might be affecting your relationship. Part II will give you solutions to these five money mistakes.
Mistake #1: Letting curiosity die out
Remember when you and your partner were dating and you were so excited to learn every little thing about each other? For so many couples, that curiosity and deep level of interest seems to end once they’re married. They simply stop learning about each other. When that happens, couples stop seeing the reasons for their differences and only see the differences. That lack of depth in your knowledge of each other extends to your financial relationship. If you don’t know how your partner thinks about money – we call that a person’s Money Personality - you’ll have all kinds of misunderstandings and conflicts about your finances that could be avoided. Knowing your partner’s Money Personality is as crucial to a healthy relationship as knowing her favorite sports team or his favorite kind of ice cream.
Mistake #2: Worrying
According to freescore.com, the average person spends 3.3 hours a day worrying about debt. That’s more time than some of people spend talking to their kids! Clearly, a lot of us are living on tight budgets, dealing with debt, and spending all kinds of time and energy thinking about finances. We find that there is often one partner – usually the Saver or the Security Seeker - who is far more worried about the finances than the other. The stress of all that worry can wreak havoc on a relationship.
Mistake #3: Giving up
We hear so many couples who’ve gotten so tired of arguing about money that one of them finally says, “Just forget it!” Without solid financial communication skills, conversations about money quickly turn into conflicts about money. In time, financial issues become fraught with resentment, mistrust, and control issues and they’re just done with it. And that’s when financial infidelity sets in.
Mistake #4: Keeping money secrets
We define financial infidelity as any kind of secret or lie couples use to deal with financial communication issues. According to one British study, 1 in 6 people hide money from their spouse. Financial infidelity can include anything from keeping a secret credit card to fudging the real price of those new shoes. It nearly always signals a lack of trust. Like sexual infidelity, financial infidelity can start small and might even be innocent at first, but anything less than total honesty when it comes to your finances can tear your relationship apart. You can learn more about financial infidelity with our Financial Relationship Index.
Mistake #5: Letting go of hope
Whether you’ve got one of the other mistakes happening in your relationship or all of them, it’s easy to start feeling hopeless. It can feel like money will always be a battleground. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve seen couples return from the brink of divorce by committing to changing the way they think about and talk about money together.
In the next Money Couple Minute, we’ll show you how to work through these mistakes and be on your way to having the BEST relationship ever. In the meantime, click here and email us your financial relationship questions.
Make It Happen!
Scott and Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple
Money Huddle Tip: Sit down with your partner and look over this list. Which mistakes are you making? How committed are you to working through those mistakes and forging a new path?
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