Emotional issues around money conversations
A journalist friend of mine is writing an article about women and money. She sent me an email asking for “two or three topics that a typical financial planner wouldn't think of, focused on the psychology/emotional issues around money conversations?” Here is a copy/paste of my reply to her. I thought it was pretty good and had to share.
There are many strong emotions wrapped up in our finances we don't recognize which can sabotage a relationship. I have a waaaaay bigger series of steps guiding people through their values, motivations, history, strengths, goals, etc. resulting in the couple developing a system of money management that works for them, but I'll trim it down to three key points here.
Firstly, how we are raised has a huge impact on our current relationship with money. Only once we realize why we act the way we do, can we make positive, lasting changes. Do you hoard money? Are you living paycheck to paycheck despite having a good income? Do you fear banks? Does it feel like there's never enough? Do you always buy the luxury version of an item, even if you can't afford it? Think about and share with each other specific childhood memories of money. Did you ever have to lend your parents money as a child? Were you given a new car for your sixteenth birthday? Did you have a rich/poor relative who was spoken about badly because of their finances? Chances are, you can directly connect these memories to your current financial actions, stresses, and emotions.
Secondly, once you know why you act the way you do, figure out what you need, financially. Talk about what financial security and financial success look like to you. What would you do differently? How would you know you've achieved it? The key to financial harmony in a relationship is finding a system of money management that fulfills both people's need for security, success, and independence.
Lastly, no one will change if they don't have a good reason. if you want to make true change, you need to know your motivations. There are five major human motivations factors:
- what makes you feel good and brings you comfort
- what engages you
- who do you want to spend your time with (relationships)
- what brings meaning to your life
- what accomplishments would you like to make
When you focus on these things, the everyday changes you have to make in order to get you and your spouse to financial security, success, and independence, become far easier.