Getting intimate about finances

Getting intimate about your finances

I have just returned from participating in the inaugural “Financial Intimacy” conference in New York City. It was an inspiring event that brought people together to talk about money and relationships. This remains a pretty sensitive topic in our culture and yet one that can have huge impact on a couple’s success or failure.

As couples move past the new, sparkly, shiny phase of their relationship, there are three areas I recommend that they talk about to build financial intimacy:

1) Values: What are your respective values around money – specifically spending, saving and borrowing? How was money managed in your family growing up and do you operate consistent with those values or counter to them? What would you say your money is for, once food and shelter have been paid for?

2) Dreams: What do you dream about for your life together? This includes areas like family, travel, career, contribution, home and experiences. Do you feel like you’re headed in the same direction as a couple? And are you willing to support the dreams your partner has that you don’t share?

3) Circumstances: Don’t forget to get a reality check on net worth. What do you each own, and what you each owe? It is quite common for people to keep financial secrets from their partner – hiding a credit card or not disclosing debts. But you can’t have intimacy if you’re not telling the truth. And that means coming clean on what is really going on with your money – even if the picture isn’t pretty.

Discussing these topics is no guarantee against relationship troubles, but it is a good first step towards building financial intimacy.

The next Financial Intimacy Conference will be held in LA on March 7th, 2012. For details,
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