The year 2010 was the closest I came to a nervous breakdown. I started and registered 3 companies in 3 different industries in 12 months and closed them all down before the year was out.
How did life get this chaotic?
Love and money
I was an unemployed and depressed graduate in a relationship with a man whose finances were falling apart because of the US recession and bad investments.
He was supporting me and we both had no idea how to broach the topic of money without getting into a crazy argument.
I felt like I was being rebuked for my lack of contribution and felt the silent criticism and it didn’t help that his family and friends thought I was a gold digger and treated me as such.
Every time I spent money on anything, you could cut the tension in the house with a knife. I felt the silent pressure to do something so I panicked and started a new company.
Before I knew it, I was running 3 companies. And running them badly!
My health went downhill; I think I spent every morning crying. If it weren’t for yoga, I may have had a full fledged breakdown.
In the end the relationship was characterized by constant arguments about money and my tears.
I forgot that I once thought he was my soul mate and was just too happy (still am) to end the relationship.
The day I moved out was the first time I really slept without feeling guilty about resting.
It was also the day I got my first coaching client and started earning money for the first time in a year.
Teachers of the law of attraction will say that’s because I released my resistance about money and with that allowed myself to start manifesting.
Money has the power to destroy friendships and end marriages
Money is an emotional topic and the sooner you acknowledge this, the more equipped you will be to deal with this topic when it comes up in your relationships.
Jeffrey Dew did a study with the National Survey of Families and Households which looks at the link between financial disagreements and divorce and found that:
- Husbands that argue about money almost every day increase their risk of divorce by 160% and wives increase their risk 130%.
- On the other extreme, husbands that argue about money less than once per month have a 40% risk of divorce and wives a 30% risk of divorce.
If you’ve been in a relationship where money was a hot topic then you know that this is probably true.
How to talk about money in your relationship
1. Talk about your individual 5 year financial goals
Write down your 5 year goals on paper and become very clear about what you want to earn, what job (s) you want to do and how you want to spend and invest your money. And then share these goals with your partner.
One day after one of our insane fights I sat down and wrote my 5 year financial vision and shared it with my ex. He was horrified to learn that my vision included living (not just traveling) in different countries and getting a job that allowed me to do just this.
He also learned that I never wanted to own a house in the suburbs (I love the city and he owned 3 houses in the suburbs).
Clearly we weren’t a financial match and this exercise helped me understand that.
2. Talk about your current financial situation
This step is very important if you’re just starting out in the relationship. The other person has a right to know if you have any major debts or if you’re filing for bankruptcy or unemployed.
This is the hardest thing for me to do because as a money coach people expect me to be on top of my finances but the truth is I am a work in progress. The only difference is I know I can work through all my financial glitches and I am not scared to call my life coach and close friends to let them know that I need help.
3. Discuss your financial values
This is the most daunting part of the money conversation because it is in this conversation that you state what your values are when it comes to money and how you have spent your money so far.
Answer the following questions:
· What value do you think money has?
· What are your financial strengths and weaknesses?
· What are your beliefs and your family beliefs about money?
· How do you spend money for fun?
4. Be honest about your feelings about money
Money is an emotional topic with many trigger points.
How does talking about money or handling money make you feel?
This is something your partner should know so that he or she can know how and when to talk to you about money.
If you feel anxious about money, then your partner needs to know that you need to feel safe to openly discuss money.
If you’re relaxed about money; your partner will know they can talk about money all day long and it won’t upset you.
5. Set your quarterly budget together and review it every week at a set time
This is an important habit to ensure that you both decide on what to spend money.
The goal is to start feeling comfortable about planning your finances together and to also make sure that you spend money on the things that matter to both of you.
Reviewing your budget every week at a set time will hold you both accountable.
In your review you will be able to see where you are falling short and where you are excelling
Please share any other tips you have about discussing money in relationships in the comments section below.