Talking Money With Your Honey
A cat has nine lives and so do relationships. Here are 9 steps to a healthier partnership with each other around money and financial issues.
1) Bring up the conversation.
If one of you is not even willing to broach the subject, how will you ever address the issues affecting your partnership? So, bring it up the subject and then plan a the day, the time of day and for how long you will have this discussion so you all are both in agreement about when you look at this together.
2) Planning the Talk:
Make sure it is at a time when both of you can give it undivided attention. So pick the day and the time of day where there are a minimum of distractions. Kids are asleep, no pressing appointments, and agree to turn off the blackberry or cell phones so the focus is on each other. Light candles, put on soft music, sit under a tree, whatever will create an atmosphere of calm and trust.
3) Share you feelings and talk about yourself.
Make sure the talk does not become a blame game. So, share how your own actions affect you. Talk about how your partner’s actions make you feel. You can also prepare notes for yourself by jotting down your thoughts before the meeting starts as a way to get clear for yourself.
4) Share your past:
How we deal with money issues is often a reflection of how we learned or did not learn about money in our life. So, bring up how money was handheld earlier in your life as a way of exploring how this might be playing itself out in your life today. How money was handled in your house or not handled, as a kid. If you have an ex make sure those wounds are remembered where money is concerned, as well.
5) Address Your Fear and Hopes:
Talk about what upsets you like afraid of being broke, scared about bills piling up or not having anything for retirement or the kids schooling. Do not hide from what you fear.
On the other hand, talk about the future you want for yourself and your partner. By co-creating a vision for a better tomorrow you both might get there together.
6) Listen and Be Still:
When your partner shares with you, do not interrupt. Let them have their say. Really listen to what they have to say and let your own guard down. Remember, this is your partner and you are with them because you care about one another. Make sure they know you have heard them by repeating back any questions or comments in your own words, Acknowledge their feelings without deciding whether they are justified in your opinion or not.
7) Write down your thoughts.
If your partner brings something up that stirs something in you, do not interrupt, simply jot down a one or two word note to yourself as you listen so you can be there fully engaged with them. Maintain the eye contact so they know you are there for them. Use that note when it is your time to talk..
8) Create Action Steps:
Only after you both have vented, shared, perhaps cried, is it now the time to figure out what you want to do about what you have discovered, if anything.
Make these agreements simple, so you both know whether you are keeping them or not. This is tricky as “ I will spend less” is not as easy to define as “I will only pay cash for purchases” . Or “we will save for a vacation” is very different then “we will deposit $20 a week from each of our paychecks into our vacation savings fund” or “ I will look for help with money” vs I will spend one hour by next week on the internet researching finan cial planners and call one for a free consultation”. Make your agreements with each other simple and time sensiitve to avoid any misunderstandings.
Write these down and you both sign the agreement. Then seal it with a kiss. Hey this is supposed to be about creating a healthier more loving relationship, remember !
9) Agree to meet again:
End whatever time you have spent and however much you both shared, agree on another day and time to continue on this path of seeking to understand each other's financial issues. By checking in with each other, being each other's cheerleaders, not each other keepers, you might find this will last.
Remember this is hard otherwise you would not have these issues in your life nor would so many other couples.