The Can't Miss Investment for 2010: Talking Money with Your Honey
by Manisha Thakor & Sharon Kedar, co-authors of Get Financially Naked
After two grueling years in the financial markets, most people are understandably gun-shy about the thought of investing. From where we stand, however, there's one sure fire, can't miss investment for 2010... and that is learning how to talk money with your honey.
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You've seen the studies. Over and over again money is cited as one of the top causes of fights in relationships. Why is this? Well, when was the last time someone asked if you were financially compatible with your mate? Probably never. When you meet that someone special, what do your friends ask you? They ask if you are emotionally, physically, and spiritually compatible. But it's not socially acceptable to ask if you mesh monetarily. In fact, we'd go so far as to argue that the one thing more intimate than sex... is talking money with your honey.
The reasons for this are wide and varied. Three jump out at us. First, it has historically been considered crass to talk about money ("I don't want to sound like a gold-digger"). Second, very few people receive a formal education in personal finance. Lacking solid knowledge of the basics, it can be embarrassing or scary to admit any lack of personal finance knowledge to your mate. Last but not least, we are bombarded by the media with unrealistic images of middle class lifestyles that are anything but. Have you ever met an medical resident who had the time, let alone the money, to be as well groomed as those we see on the medical TV shows?
Here's the good news. Following a few simple steps and investing in this component of your relationship can make all the difference. We suggest starting with three steps:
1. Uncover your money histories. These are your unconscious beliefs about money that have built up over the years as a result of daily interactions with money. You can find a template for this exercise at www.GetFinanciallyNaked.com. We wrote this deliberately in the plural, as it's an exercise best done by both you and your mate.
2. Assess your financial compatibility. The goal of talking about money with your honey isn't to make yourselves clones of each other, but rather to understand where there may be gaps in your collective knowledge. This way you can develop a game plan to deal with them. You can download a short, fun financial compatibility quiz here.
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3. Know where you want to go. Some of the steps you will have to take to get on financial track as a couple will not be fun. So it helps to have a carrot. We suggest free associating with the phrase, "When I live my life from a position of financial strength, I will...." You can download a template for this here. The answers to this simple exercise will help give you the mental fortitude to make the tough decisions.
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