Resolve your financial disputes and conflicts by understanding what money really means to you and your partner
There’s no disputing the fact that money, or in most cases the lack of it, is now the leading cause of stress in a relationship. Often leading to unnecessary arguments and break-ups it’s an issue that is rarely understood and seldom talked about. Whether couples fight about a lack of money, unemployment, out-of-control spending and credit card debts or being unable to agree on how much to save or spend, managing ones money matters, more than we might think and it starts with a basic understanding of our money mindset and the mindset of our partner. What is a money mindset? A money mindset is our thoughts and beliefs about money. More importantly it is about what money means to us. Does money mean pleasure to you or freedom? This comes down to the simple idea of whether someone prefers to save or spend and more importantly why. As with most beliefs, our ideas about money are hidden so deep within the realms of our sub-conscious mind and our conscious awareness that most of us don’t even know they are there. These subconscious money beliefs steer our lives in a certain way often causing havoc when we get into a long-term serious relationship with a partner who has very different ideas about money. When a couple has opposing ideas about what money means to them it opens the door to conflict. By just being aware that you and your partner probably have different money mindsets you can greatly reduce the stress in your relationship.
Whilst this was written for married couples who argue over finances. These tips work well for individuals who are in financial conflict with family members over assets and money. I’ve helped resolve countless family financial disputes as well as individuals who have been financially cut off or abused by family members following the death of a parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent. These tips can give insight, although tread carefully if there is financial abuse at play.
IDENTIFY YOUR MONEY-MINDSET
‘Life is about the journey not the destination’ is a popular quote and is worth remembering when thinking about financial conflicts in a relationship. When both partners have different opposing views and beliefs about money not only are they travelling on different paths but they are ultimately headed towards different destinations. To avoid this is simple, know thyself. When we know who we really are and what we want and why we want it we can bring about long-lasting change. There are generally four types of categories that people fall into when it comes to a money mindset; The Spender, The Miser, The Money Hater and the Money Seeker. By taking the time to identify which categories you and your fall into is the first step to taking control of your finances.
SPENDERS: Spenders by nature will typically make purchases that are beyond their means, often purchasing things to make themselves happy? They will typically feel good after spending and money is associated with happiness and pleasure. When someone tries to control or limit their spending it will often feel like that person is trying to take away their pleasure in life and thus result in conflict. Spenders live for pleasure and believe that only money can bring them pleasure and are very attached to having it and spending it.
MISERS: People who fall into this category fear poverty and constantly worry about not having enough money to live. They are often stingy and are generally uncomfortable with any sort of uncertainty and need to feel in control. They spend very little, whether they have money or not, because they live in fear of poverty.
HATERS: These people also live in deprived conditions, purposely avoiding material possessions and spending. They detest money and what it does to people and are negative at heart. Rather than see the good that money can and does do, they are solely focused on all the problems that can be associated with having money.
SEEKERS: The money seeker is the sought of person who obsess over becoming wealthy. It’s all they think about and all they want. For these people, having money and wealth is the ultimate goal. They often believe that making a fortune will solve all of their problems. They can either be avid savers trying to make as much money as possible or avid spenders striving for material possessions. Either way, it’s the strong desire for making and having money that drives them.
ASK YOURSELF WHY YOU BELIEVE IT
When we can identify which category describes us the best the next step is to look at why. For example if we are a spender we may not consciously want to spend but feel driven to. In this instance it’s important to take a step back and look at where we might have picked up this belief. Did something happen to you in the past that made you decide that you needed to spend money to feel good. What did your parents do? Are you doing the same as them or are you doing the exact opposite. If you grew up in a home that was overly strict and money was never spent could this have ignited the idea in you that never want to live like they did and thus you become a spender? Sit down and ask yourself as many questions as you can to uncover why you believe what you do about money. When you see the reason why and have uncovered the pattern look at how your beliefs differ from your partners.
LOOK AT HOW YOU CAN COMPROMISE
Let’s say you and your partner have uncovered that you have different money mindsets, how do you move forwards together as a couple in financial harmony? One of the first things you can do is look at what you can do to accommodate both of your needs. If one of you is a saver and one is a spender, look at ways you can reshuffle your finances around so that money is saved yet spent and both partners feel that their needs are being addressed. If your differences are overwhelming and you can’t find a solution then it’s worth working with a coach.
SET SMALL ACHIEVABLE GOALS AND REFOCUS
Setting small financial goals that a couple can both agree on will help bring about long-lasting change. This could be anything from agreeing to save 10% of one’s salary to having a ‘fun pot’ where money is allocated each month just for fun. Whatever the financial goals are they should be realistic yet give both partners confidence that their needs are being met.
Relationship issues around finances are never easy but they can be managed. Communicating one’s needs is paramount along with an understanding of what might be driving each other’s financial decisions and actions. Lastly it’s important to forgive oneself and one’s partner for any bad financial choices and focus on what you can do today to make your lives financially compatible. Looking back and blaming the other person will do nothing but keep you and your finances stuck in the past. At the end of the day look at where you want to go together and not where you’ve been and you and your bank account will become healthier than ever.
Hope you enjoyed this, I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions for me at all, email me any time on Nicola@purepeacecoaching.com
From my heart to yours, Nicola
P.S Please read the below if you or someone close to you is suffering from financial abuse.
Having spent years working with families and individuals to resolve conflict and heal past relationship wounds, it is important to note that the above communication tips, often do not work if someone is being financially abusive. Financial abuse cases require a different approach, where it I advisable to get some support to work out the best way forward. Financial abuse is basically where money is being used against someone to manipulate, blackmail or punish. If you are being financially abused and are confused find someone you trust to support you. No one deserves to put up with any kind of abuse and the fact that it is not physical, does not make it any less painful.
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