While each couple is unique, most arguments about financial matters start with either lack of organization or lack of communication. Following are some tips for peaceful money management.
Regardless of how much or how little people have, money is the most common cause of dissension in relationships. While each couple is unique, most arguments about financial matters start with either lack of organization or lack of communication. Both of these are behavior issues, and behavior can be changed.
Create systems that work for both people. Choose one place for checkbooks, receipts, and other information regarding financial transactions. Use a file marked “Payables” for credit card statements, monthly mortgage, car, and insurance payment booklets, utility bills, etc, which should all be kept together until they have been paid.
Put Details in Writing
Many people carry their financial information around with them in their head — the monthly direct debit for the health club membership, the month they renew their auto insurance, the day they promised to pitch in for Aunt Martha’s new sofa-bed. While the ability to remember facts and figures is impressive, all that information takes up prime real estate in your mind. Did you know Albert Einstein could not recite his telephone number from memory? He saved the space for new ideas. Getting all those details out of your head and onto paper will help you feel more peaceful while making the data more accessible to your partner.
Schedule a “Money Meeting”
Sit down with your partner regularly to discuss your finances. Arrange all information about what bills are due, how much is due, and the date each payment is due into an easy-to-read format. I recommend using the system in Too Busy to Budget (available at www.amazon.com or www.toobusytobudget.com), a calendar/workbook with simple, step-by-step instructions for organizing your finances.
Together, go over your expenses, compare your monthly income to your monthly expenses, and brainstorm solutions to problems that arise or ways to increase income. For instance, if you find your paycheck will not cover the new hockey equipment your son needs next week, you could choose to take action on selling that timeshare in Orlando or the treadmill turned coat-hanger that is collecting dust in your basement. Maybe you have medical bills you have been meaning to submit to the insurance company for reimbursement. You might decide it is a good idea to take on a part-time job or pick up an extra shift at work. The point is to think of solutions together.
Stop Money Mayhem
The Money Meeting is meant to empower you. While facing the facts and figures may be disheartening or upsetting at first, remind yourselves that sometimes the problem gets bigger before it gets better. In order to prevent the session from turning into an argument, preface your meeting with an agreement about what you will do when tension rises. Some couples choose to light candles and take deep breaths; others take a walk or drink a cold glass of water. You could consider having an objective third-party sit with you the first few times. You may be able to find a relationship coach to act as a mediator as you learn how to communicate about finances without arguing.
If you find yourselves in trouble get help right away. Do not make a bad situation worse by delaying action. Professional counseling and coaching services are available, and sometimes one session is all it takes to get you back on track. Learn how to make money a positive force rather than a destructive force in your relationships. If there are real problems, they will be easier to face when you face them together.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I’ve accepted that all of life is grace. Life is gently but firmly revealing that I have less control than I think.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate the opportunity to teach kids about trees.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
It is a great blessing to experience contentment with life exactly as it is. This is the result of the Ishayas’ Ascension. I’m so grateful this meditation-like practice came my way.
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?
There is the ability to grow beyond self-consciousness. For now when self-consciousness is noticed, it is surrendered completely — until the next time it is noticed and then it is surrendered again.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my way of being in the world. It is not my way as in something I manufactured, it is the way life moves through this body, this nervous system.