LOVE AND MONEY
The secrets of financial intimacy are easy with honesty
Creators News Service
Look up "money" in the dictionary and you'll see it is a commodity of exchange. But don't kid yourself. Money is more than that. A lot more.
Money is emotional and indispensable. Money determines where you live, what you drive, where your children grow up and where they go to school. Money dictates how you spend your time. It is the currency of life.
Money is challenging for everyone, but it's especially difficult for couples. Money exposes the differences in our personalities and the ways we were brought up. Money causes tension in most marriages and has the power to ruin relationships.
When you were single, you didn't have to discuss money with anyone. Your situation, whether pathetic or prosperous, was your secret. But now you're part of a team. It's our income, our mortgage, our pension and our future.
You kissed the single life goodbye, but you may be hanging onto your old money ways and attitudes. To complicate matters, you married someone who also may be hanging onto a lifetime of money attitudes, secrets, habits and goals. No wonder money is difficult for so many couples.
No matter your current financial situation, you can start right now to move toward financial intimacy.
First and foremost, commit to honesty. Even if one spouse cares for the investments and handles the day-to-day record keeping and bill paying, the other needs to be actively aware of the partnership's financial state. This foundation of trust is worth more than gold in an intimate marriage.
Next, a call to integrity means no money secrets and no lies, big or small. Most of us would agree that hiding a five-figure credit card debt is lying and damaging to a relationship. But so is telling your spouse you got something on sale when you didn't or any other number of ways it is so easy to hide financial activity. Using the cash-back feature at the supermarket to pocket pin money by making it look like groceries, thus hiding it from your spouse, erodes trust.
Finally, take cues from couples who have found financial intimacy. Financially intimate couples give themselves allowances -- money they can save or spend and do with as they please. They have money to call their own. This setup is not in conflict with your commitment to be fully accountable in your finances.
Authors Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher discovered, during their 10-year research project and reported in "The Case for Marriage," that married people do better financially than singles -- not because financially successful people get married but because married people who behave as financial partners do better financially.
A healthy marriage promotes financial success!
Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 17 books, including "Debt-Proof Living." You can e-mail her at [email protected], or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.