In a previous post, I spoke to the importance of identifying your “money story” – a memory or set of memories that helped shape how you feel about and approach money. Your first experiences with money set the tone for the emotions and motivations you attach to money, which affects the financial decisions you make.
Each and every money story is unique, which makes each individual’s approach to finance vastly different. It’s no wonder money matters are the leading stress in marriages…you’ve got two people with two completely different approaches to one of the most important aspects of life.
Even if you are 100 percent in touch with your own values and money story, if you’re sharing a life with someone, you need to understand how that person views money as well. If you don’t, compromising and achieving joint financial goals will be challenging.
Understanding your partner’s financial story explains the motives behind your partner’s approach to spending and saving. And when both partners understand where the other is coming from, it can help facilitate more compassion and compromise.
It’s not uncommon for partners to have polar-opposite money stories – which is crucial for both of you to know, understand, accept, and work with. Like the questions you ask yourself in order to better understand your relationship with money, there are a number of questions to start the money story conversation with your spouse or partner, including:
- What is your earliest memory of money?
- How did your family handle money when you were growing up?
- Whom would you describe as a role model in managing money?
- What are the best financial decisions that you have made?
- What decision about money do you regret?
- What early money messages did you receive that have stuck with you (e.g., “time is money”)?
- How would you describe financial freedom?
Understanding your partner’s money story and values will help clarify how and why your partner makes financial decisions. This can help bring you both to a common ground, which is necessary when you start looking at your joint financial future and minimize disagreements. Visit www.kathylongo.com to learn more about getting on the same page financially to achieve great things.
You might be thinking, “who gets excited about finances??” Instead, many people dread them and hope to avoid dealing with them altogether. Therein lies the problem – when you don’t look at and deal with them, that’s when things don’t improve. However, when you decide to not avoid them, approach them head on and actually – yes – get excited about what you can accomplish, you will be amazed at the power you’ll have over your current and future financial outcome.
Getting in that headspace can be difficult for many. However, it’s possible to get passionate about your finances when putting them into the proper perspective. Here are some ways to get excited about your finances and start getting ahead:
- Break your cash flow into bite-size pieces and focus on these three components:
- mastering the day-to-day bill paying, living within your means, and understanding your income
- understanding both short- and long-term goals
- saving and investing to match those goals
- Psychology is more important than dollars and cents. Return to your money story and understand where your feelings about money come from.
- Substitute industry jargon for comfortable conversation that you understand and that doesn’t involve negative triggers.
- Identify steps that can be taken on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to achieve your goals.
- Schedule time to review your investments and financial plan on a consistent basis. You’ll find that if you check on it regularly, you’ll avoid getting derailed and be able to make adjustments that help as time passes.
- Create a connection with a professional advisor – as much as you may know and understand about your own finances, a professional will provide a perspective and tools that you weren’t aware of previously.
- Turn to online and workplace education, get more involved by understanding the intricacies of your financial obligations now and in the future.
- Talk to trusted friends to understand how they’ve approached their personal budgets and finances. You may not always identify with what others are doing, but it could provide ideas and inspiration for how to improve your situation.
- Connect to other professional providers who can help, such as an accountant, estate attorney, and personal insurance agent. Again, the more help you can receive, the better off you’ll be.
Your finances don’t have to be thought of as all budget and restriction. With some reframing, this can be an exciting conversation. Your finances are a tool that allows you to take control of your life and achieve life goals and dreams. Learn more about how to achieve your life goals and dreams by visiting, www.kathylongo.com.