Learn how to reframe the concept of a relationship as a system designed to meet the members' needs. In this video, Amanda Clayman presents some common financial conflicts and places where the system breaks down and couples get stuck.
- In this video, we're going to explore four reasons why money discussions go so easily off the rails. But, before we do, let's talk about couples in general. Certainly everything starts with love and passion, but the reason that we make the jump into a committed partnership isn't just that we feel more of these things for a particular person. One of the fundamental benefits of partnership is you get to be on a team. With our spouse or partner, we get a stable source of support and shared effort toward a shared vision.
We can also divide up tasks and specialize, so each person doesn't have to be and do all things. And the fact is, we've been doing it this way since the beginning of time. Whether it was early humans forming pair bonds to raise offspring or settlers having one person work the farm and the other one run the home, the nature of marriage is work. It's only in more recent times that marriage has become an extension of romantic love and your brain, well, in many ways, your brain is still stuck in the Stone Age.
Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. Here's the secret that relationship therapists know, the strongest teams are not made up of members that have exactly the same strengths. Our unconscious has a way of drawing us towards someone who has the potential to contribute something that's needed to balance us out. For example, if we know ourselves to be impulsive, we might like that our partner is more deliberate. It's not that one way is right and one is wrong, but there's balance within the system. So, really, difference is valuable, but that doesn't mean it's easy.
In a healthy relationship, love and trust are like the oil that keeps the parts of this machine working together. We don't always need to be in control, because we trust that our partner has our back, except with money. Our money discussions have a high potential for conflict, because money taps into a place that's even deeper than human attachment. That place is our hardwired sense of survival. When we feel like our financial security is threatened or we can't control money the way that we want to to meet our needs, our bodies prepare to fight.
Even without our noticing it, we're flooded with adrenaline and cortisol. We start attacking their arguments and defending our behavior, and if we listen to our partner at all, it's only because we're preparing our rebuttal. Also, with money, we're generally talking about the wrong things. Somewhere along the way, we picked up the idea that money is the domain of clear rules and fundamental logic. Everybody should follow these three steps to boost your credit score and avoid these top five mistakes that investors make.
Sure, there's some things that you should know about how money works, but there's no such thing as a one size fits all financial life. Disagreements about money are usually about differing values and priorities, not different facts. The third reason couples fight about money is that money is usually a finite resource and so it can feel like we need to compete for our share. We use money in a variety of ways to take care of ourselves. I call this the matrix of competing needs. I talk about it in depth in my course, Managing Personal Cash Flow.
But even when we're clear on the ways that we use money, we don't always have the same insight and understanding of our partners. To us, those differences often look like simply wasting money or not having enough hustle to earn. And then there's a sense of total mystery surrounding how all of this is supposed to work. Even if your parents did collaborate on family finances, chances are that they did that privately, away from the children's view. Or maybe only one person was in charge of the money, and the other one largely stayed out of it. Today's relationship and economic roles tend to be both more complex and more egalitarian than they were a generation ago and so for many of us, we're in totally uncharted territory.
Let's agree that when it comes to family finance, there are a lot of ways in which we are prone to conflict and misunderstanding. But, when we bring awareness to its triggering effect, we can choose not to repeat the same old fights. A working system starts with a peace treaty.
In this course, financial therapist Amanda Clayman shows how to tackle the financial difficulties that often sour partnerships by walking through how to create and follow a family cash flow plan. Using her five pillars of financial harmony as a guide, Amanda explains how to construct a plan that engages all family members in its implementation. Looking at money management as a system designed to meet your specific needs, she highlights common financial conflicts and shows how to create a healthy, sustainable plan. She explains how to establish ground rules for communicating effectively, prioritize each partner's "asks," assign money management roles suited to each partner's strengths, and bring it all together into a working plan.
- Why couples fight about money
- Exploring values
- Communicating effectively
- Being clear and concrete
- Negotiating successfully
- Assigning roles suited to each partner's strength
- Setting up a routine
- Creating your family cash flow plan
- Dealing with dilemmas
- Making changes
- Engaging children in your family's cash flow management process