I remember when my now-husband & I were about to move in together. We’d been dating for 2 years. And I was struggling. At what point do we have THE TALK about money?
We each knew the other had no credit card debt. Beyond that, we kept tip-toeing around the topic.
It reminded me of a letter to Ann Landers from a woman who wanted to ask her boyfriend to help pay for her birth control, but didn’t feel she knew him well enough to ask!
I laughed when I read that. But here I was—a financial coach—doing the same!!! I just couldn’t bring myself to, as my friend Manisha Thakor titled her terrific book, Get Financially Naked with the man I loved. One day, I happened on an old journal from high school. I’d forgotten how I always wondered if people liked me for me or because my family was rich…how hard I tried to be like everyone else.
No wonder I was scared to expose myself financially. I was sure he’d reject or judge me harshly. With that realization, my resistance subsided.
Later that week, as we were finishing breakfast, without even thinking, I got up, retrieved my latest financial statements, pushed aside the dishes, spread out the papers, and said, “This is what I have.”
He listened, asked a few questions, then explained what was in his accounts. That was it…a non-event. But at the same time, it was clearly a turning point for us. I learned 3 important lessons that day:
- The fear of doing is far worse than the actual doing! Afterwards, I wondered, “what was the big deal?”
- Resistance dissolves when its root is revealed. The moment I realized my childhood fears were the culprit, those old demons didn’t seem so threatening.
- Financial transparency is vital to intimacy and trust. “Otherwise,” as Manisha writes, “like termites eating away at the foundation of your relationship, little nagging doubts or questions about each other’s finances could end up destroying what is currently a beautiful life.”
I’d love to hear your experience talking finances with your partner. Leave me a comment below.
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