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Before jumping in with Nathan‘s post I just want to mention that I’ve read Nathan’s book and really enjoyed it. Writing a personal finance blog, I get a ton of books to read. What I loved about 33 Money Action Plan from Nathan was that he offers a clear, easy to follow day by day guide on how to not only get your finances under control, but keeps you motivated during the whole time. One reason people don’t follow through on their finances is that it can be boring. Nathan is the opposite – he has a wonderfully approachable writing style and his advice is practical. I highly recommend you grab a copy of his book. Ok, back to his post… 😉
Understanding money and more importantly, the underlying needs that it serves can be one of the most valuable investments we make in our relationships. Talking about money, our wants, our desires, our dreams and goals is deeply personal and requires nearly as much (and for many, more) trust and intimacy as sexual intimacy.
Of course, trust and intimacy are what our relationships live and die on, so it makes perfect sense that the leading cause of divorce in this country is said to be financial difficulties.
Not that there isn’t enough money – even the poorest of us have significantly more money than the majority of the world.
High income and high net worth households have just as many problems with their finances and relationships as do lower income families. So it’s not really that there’s a lack of resources, it’s not the return on investment, it’s not which credit card they used or what mutual fund they invested with – there’s a lack of communication and mutual understanding on this topic of money.
To use a pretty cliché example, our culture teaches us that men with high incomes are more attractive than lower incomes. Men, for the most part, want to be providers to their families and judge themselves in a big way on their ability to provide. However, what I believe to be the true underlying reason we believe this to be the case (that high income = more attractive) is that women (and men too) desire security and stability. Nothing wrong with that, and it’s NOT that women are weaker (in many ways, they’re stronger than us men) but it’s an important point to understand as both a man and a woman.
It’s not so much that women need a whole lot of money from their man. Most women I speak to aren’t really concerned with that. They just don’t want to be constantly fighting over bills or worrying about where money is going to come from.
Mistakenly, many of us men think this means that we have to simply bring home more money to keep them happy. However, if the issue of stability is never dealt with (ie, our lifestyle continues to inflate with our income), then that need of stability and security is never met for either partner. No good.
Making more money isn’t bad, but when it becomes the focus, it can negatively impact the relationship. When one spouse is more concerned with work than their relationship, it strains the relationship – we all know that intellectually, but how are we in practice?
So, I’m going to make a suggestion. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a pretty regular reader of financial blogs and publications. That means you’re probably pretty versed at basic savings and investment stuff. You might even be pretty good at earning a great deal of income.
However, I want you to take some time to really talk about your financial goals with your partner and make a commitment to communicating deeply and intimately about your financial resources. Now, understand when I say that I don’t mean talk more about what investments you’re investing in or more about how much money you’re going to have in 20 years. I mean, talk about your wants, desires, and most importantly goals for the future.
Investments, budgets, savings accounts, money making opportunities, rental properties, all are simply tools and are about as interesting and exciting as tools. However, what you can do with those, what you desire to do with those tools is what really makes the world go around.
Besides, as I always tell couples…. Getting intimate with your money, is bound to lead to more of another kind of intimacy.