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Just For Couples: Five Easy Steps to a Rich Life

Aug 18, 2007
Do you and your partner struggle over money? Does it seem like you can never agree on how to spend it? Do disagreements over money spill over into the rest of your lives together?

Along with sex and children, money is at the top of the list of topics most couples fight about. Inability to agree about money is all too often a major factor in divorce. You and your partner don't have to fall into the "money trap", however.

Here are 5 steps you can take to resolve your money issues and enrich your lives - financially and emotionally.

1. Don't talk about money - talk about values. Rather than arguing over whether to buy a new car or put the money toward your retirement account, start to talk to each other about the underlying values you each hold. For instance, you may believe in "enjoying the moment" while your partner is more concerned with securing the future. Talking about your values doesn't mean that you will always agree, but it does give you the opportunity to explore together what's really important to each of you.

2. Listen with the "third ear". In other words, try to hear what your partner is expressing under his or her words. Ask questions like: "What does a new car really mean to you?" or "Do you know why it feels so important to you to put away every penny you can?" Asking questions like these open the door to exploring your feelings together and that is the Royal Road to intimacy.

3. Treat each other tenderly. Once your partner has shared his or her feelings with you, it's your job to be supportive and validating. NEVER attack, criticize or belittle your partner's feelings. Sharing our feelings leaves us feeling vulnerable. We need to know that we can trust our partner to be tender and loving toward us at these times.

4. Demonstrate generosity. It's important to be able to speak up for yourself and be clear about your wants and needs. Sometimes though, it can be incredibly powerful to go along with your partner's wishes just because you know something is especially important to him or her.

5. Allow each other some autonomy. Each of you needs some amount of money that is your's alone to be spent, saved or given away entirely as you choose. Some couples maintain separate bank accounts. Some simply slot a certain amount of cash each month for personal expenses. As Gibran said years ago in "The Prophet": "Let there be spaces in your togetherness."
About the Author
Peter Cole ChFC, LCSW, Holistic financial planning. Author: True Self True Wealth. Peter Cole is a representative of Securities America, a registered Broker/Dealer member NASD/SIPC and Securities America Advisors an SEC registered investment advisor. FREE newsletter at http://www.trueselftruewealth.com
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