I saw this quote and thought it was funny:
“All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.”
Love it or hate it, we all need money. Beyond what we need it for, we often want money, too.
And when we form relationships with other people, those wants are often different. Disagreements are inevitable because couples consist of two different people with different ideas and experiences. Money is one of the things that they will differ upon.
Like most things, what you value and how you spend your money is a deep reflection of something you learned in your family.
However, we don’t necessarily stop to think about whether the things we learned are right, wrong, good, or bad unless there is a massive misuse of money going on in our homes.
We think that what we learn from our families is ‘correct’ because, as children, we assume our parents know and that we don’t know. So your brain forms in compliance to the things it sees around it, making whatever system your parents put in place okay for you.
The same is true for your partner.
And it’s rare that either person questions their own money beliefs UNLESS there are devastating consequences from the decisions our parents made — like spending all the money on cigarettes and alcohol and never having enough food in the house.
That kind of drastic issue drives some people to look for a better solution. And often, it involves a decision to NEVER be like the people they grew up with. (Sometimes, if they go to the complete opposite, that creates a different issue all by itself.)
But most people simply don’t question the things they learned as kids. And most of us assume that our way is ‘right’ and other ways are ‘wrong’ when it comes to money.
In a relationship, that can cause problems. Fortunately, there are ways to work through those differences.
So, What Are Your Options?
As a couple, you can examine and become aware of what each person values. What’s important to your partner? What’s important to you?
Loving another person assumes that you want them to have the things they want in their life. Supporting them and helping them find ways to get what they want is important — it’s a form of ‘financial intimacy’ that you work on together.
In learning about each other, it is also critical that each person be open to examining their habits. Maybe your habits are great, but it’s also possible that they aren’t. Perhaps there are better ways of doing things that you can learn from your partner.
Having this as a discussion instead of tugging and pulling on one another with a “my way or the highway” attitude can create financial and personal intimacy.
And spending the time to peacefully sort this out before problems arise is ideal.
But don’t worry. If you’re already having problems, you can still have those talks. Just make sure that both of you stay calm and loving. (Let your partner read this email first so you both understand the goal.)
Another idea is to set up a joint account for household expenses, food, maintaining the family, paying for things for the kids, etc. Each person pays into this account a % of what the family spends each month to maintain itself.
Determine how much you need in that account to cover all expenses, and base the percentage each person contributes on their income. Those with higher incomes contribute more; those with less contribute less.
Then each person contributes their share on a monthly basis.
Let’s take Paula and Harry as an example. And let’s say that the monthly family needs equal $4000.
Paula earns $4000/month and Harry earns $2000.
Paula earns twice what Harry earns, so she’ll be responsible for approximately $2700/month while Harry’s portion will be approximately $1300.
Whatever each person has left AFTER they’ve contributed to household expenses is theirs to do whatever they want with.
That way, Harry and Paula don’t always have to agree about how they spend their money — they only have to agree to share expenses on their life together. Beyond that, they can be individuals.
I’ve seen the above solution work for several couples. It strengthens the relationship while letting each person have a portion of money that they have complete control over by his or herself.
Speaking of individuals…I’ve been talking a lot about couples, but next week I’ll change gears.
In business and in life, there are limiting beliefs that stop us from having the kind of success we want. Isn’t it time you found and then broke through them?
This week’s quote is a little more light-hearted than usual.
“I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed.”
I’ll talk to you again next week!