Blog 64. Relationship Realities: How Does Money Affect Your Relationship?
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When seeing clients, I preferred if they paid me in cash.
Over many years, I got to witness a whole medley of payment techniques, which gave me an extensive insight into the different attitudes people have with regards money.
This method allowed me to observe my client’s relationship with money and it also allowed me to monitor how they handed their money over:
- Some handed over the money whilst looking me straight in the eye.
- Others would hand the money over without ever looking at me.
- Some always handed me crumpled notes, whereas others always handed over brand new notes.
- Some would fidget, fold the money and then hand it too me.
- Others would hold the money in a tight fist, and then hand it to me often just as they were leaving – often with a twist of their wrist as if paying me illegally or shamefully.
- Some would pay me in advance.
- Others would forget to pay me.
- Some would hand over the money reluctantly.
- Others would challenge my fees – regularly.
Thankfully however – most paid willingly.
Money is of course, a huge part of our lives and it can have many detrimental effects on our relationships, whether it’s earned, inherited or sometimes won via the lottery, gambling and so on.
It is often the root cause of most problems and many relationships have split up as a result of issues around money.
How we save money, how we spend it or how we fear it’s very existence, says a lot about people and usually it even reveals the social background of a person.
But although we may never give much thought to how we hand over our money when paying – often money gets used for different purposes too:
In blog 60 I also wrote that:
‘Money is a very important tool when it comes to exerting power – especially if you have a lot of it. If used effectively, money can bring success and happiness. In some cases it can be a blessing. In other cases, it can be destructive and it can destroy lives.
And money is often connected to self-worth.
Often, if you don’t believe you are worthy of riches or whatever that may mean for you – you will not manage money well.
And within a partnership or marriage, money is often a massive bone of contention: Who earns what or how much, who spends what or how much, whether a couple can save any money or whether a couple can manage their financial affairs and afford what both require, not only for themselves but also for their children – can lead to many arguments.
Unfortunately, money or the lack of it, can represent struggle, debt and possibly even poverty.
Worries about money can have a detrimental effect on people’s health, their relationships and some have even committed suicide as a result of the shame that debt can bring.
But what we learn about money usually starts with our parents.
We learn about social standing, poverty or wealth from how we are brought up.
We learn this, also through the community that we are surrounded by: who our parent’s friends are, where they work, or whom they work with and whether they have a job at all.
Some are luckier than others. Some learn about money, building a business, bookkeeping and accountancy, the stock market from observation as they grow up. Some may even learn important financial ropes by working in their father or parent’s business.
By watching our parents, by listening to their understanding and absorbing their attitude toward money, we develop an understanding of what money can or may mean. And often as adults we continue this belief system.
It is therefore crucial that before a couple becomes too serious, they discuss money and their relationship to it.
It is important to find out what attitude a partner’s family may have towards money or how effectively they used it. Who holds the purse strings, or who is expected to work and what the financial goals are.
And know this too: a child often copies their parent’s values – especially when it comes to money.
Understanding this basic concept, understanding that you will glean much knowledge about your partner from observing their family, will help you make the right choices to suit your life goals.
This, as well as communicating and having many conversations about money and so on, with your partner, before you commit, will help inform the choices you make.
By communicating this to one another, a couple can check whether their ambitions or needs actually match.
Without this knowledge many continue into marriage, only to find themselves disappointed, sad and even angry.
Better still, you need to take extra care. Before you commit, you need to check whether a partner will wield their power through hanging onto the purse strings. This can be very unsettling to anyone and it can undermine confidence and self-worth very quickly’.
And watch how the person you wish to marry pays for things.
Ask yourself or ask them: Do they think of money as dirty? Do they crumple it up and so on? Do they pay for things up front or is everything paid on ‘the never never’? Or might they be corrupt, dishonest and so on? Are they generous or might they be penny-pinching? Are they able to save or are they spendthrift and even extravagant with their money? Ask as many questions as you can before you commit.
But then once you do commit to someone, remember that discussions about money remain crucial.
You start as you mean to go on.
Create a weekly or monthly budget, discuss what you need and what can wait. Learn to work together and make decisions that suit you both. And learn to save.
Because how a couple manage their emotional lives will be mirrored in their financial lives as well – whether they have joint bank accounts or separate bank accounts, who the main bread winner is and so on.
Sure this may take time – but it’s always worth it in the end.
There is a famous saying, ‘When poverty knocks on the door, love flies out of the window’.
Most people understand this all too well. But when we are in love, we often forget just how wise this saying actually is.
Once the romance begins to wear off, and if money is an issue, love can end rather abruptly and if there are also children involved – then this could end in a dreadful tragedy.
Money can and does unfortunately make a big difference in people’s lives. But how we approach money is what remains important.
Money won’t make you entirely happy but it can at least make things easier.
And money is a strange energy – it can either lead to debt or it can lead to success.
Also, if couples work on a budget together they would achieve a better unity. And couples need to be on the same page with regards money. In a marriage, typically there is a spender and a saver. Neither is right or wrong but a balance needs to be found because – no one wins if one person is following a budge and the other is racking up debt.
On the other hand, each person should have a little pocket money and the freedom to have a fun.
But if you have found yourselves in debt or if you have money issues please get help or at least find a support group that will help you and/or your partner.
This is why it is important to understand how money works.
Money is, as I wrote earlier, linked to self-worth. Overcome your self-worth issues or indeed your fear or self-belief issues – and money will come your way. It is that simple.
But do not put your head in the sand.
Please do not be like the many women who have left all the money issues for their husbands to deal with. This could lead to endless stress and worry.
If a loved one dies, dealing with the loss, the funeral (etc) as well as having to suddenly deal with money issues can be very hard on some – especially if they were promised security and are then left with the shock of debt and so on.
It is therefore smarter to become aware and to be prepared.
© 2017 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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